As if you need to be reminded, it’s still summer, which is a much better time to work on replacing your old house windows than, say, for example, winter.

Looking around at the old houses in Maine, it’s apparent that almost all would benefit from modern windows. The new windows keep drafts out and heat in better than any-thing designed in the 1800s. Today’s windows also make the house surprisingly quieter. Closing the windows keeps the outside noises where they belong: outside. Then there is the added benefit of keeping heated arguments inside instead of letting them waft over to the neighbors.

The panes in new windows don’t rattle when the wind blows. This tends to make your house a little less Stephen King-ish by bringing the house’s supernatural/horror index down a few notches. Other home improvements that have as much effect on the index are adding copious amounts of lighting in the cellar and skylights in the attic. Ridding your old house of bats and spiders also goes a long way in that direction. If the bats are getting in and out through broken panes in your attic, new windows will take care of that too.

Many of the up-to-date windows also tilt-in for cleaning, eliminating the need to climb rickety ladders with Windex in one hand and a squeegee in the other while using the knees for stability. This saves on hospital bills.

My across-the-street neighbors Mike and Joan Richardson, whose last name I should probably not use so just ignore that part, have a great plan for replacing all of their old house windows. They are do-it-yourself people who are replacing single windows as they can afford it, which is one window every 12 years. No, just a little joke; they actually manage two or three windows a year. It would be more, but Mike has a lot of arguments with his house, which is quite charming but, like most old houses, once you start trying to change things, the old building gets confrontational and cranky.

The thing that old houses and old people have in common is that they both sag. It requires great effort, skill, time and money, but old houses can be straightened and maintained indefinitely. People, not so much. The trick for the do-it-yourself crowd is to get the sag out of the house before you lose the swagger to do it.

Mike’s problem stemmed from the fact that his new windows were square but the large holes in the side of the house where the old windows were removed were not. They were nowhere close to square and the wall with the gaping hole had got what Mike describes as a “wicked lean.” In carpenter’s terms, this means that the wall is not plumb.

At this point, there were three major choices: he could make the hole in the side of his dining room wall square, he could straighten out the building, or he could install the new window crooked. He called me over for a consultation.

We quickly dismissed installing the window crooked because life is too long to deal with people’s (your wife’s) complaints about poor workmanship. Straightening the building was also out simply because life is too short. That left making the hole square.

My neighbor is perfectly capable of figuring this out himself but I found he does not curse nearly enough on a renovation project so I had to help him along as we worked through the problems.

We decided to square the opening and to ignore some of the lean with the incantation “plumb be damned,” as life is too short. Mike did a fabulous job and had the window in before his wife got home and before winter, but, even more importantly, before any bats got into the house.

Modern windows do have a few disadvantages. For one, you won’t get that wavy glass effect that was so popular 200 years ago. They are expensive, but planning and ingenuity can get you through that — although a sizeable inheritance would help. Also, they won’t grow frost on the inside of the glass in the dead of winter so your children won’t have any childhood memories of melting out a smiley face or a naughty word with their finger on a cold winter’s day.

Of course, your children won’t need the naughty words if you upgrade the windows before they inherit the house.