Your Guide to a Winter-Proof Exterior, Texas Style

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When some­one men­tions the weath­er in Texas, what do you think of? Nev­er-end­ing, swel­ter­ing sum­mers. But believe it or not, win­ter does come to the Lone Star State, and it’s impor­tant to take that into con­sid­er­a­tion when design­ing and con­struct­ing new build­ings there.

From rapid­ly chang­ing tem­per­a­tures to storms, floods, and even occa­sion­al snow and ice, you’re up against a vari­ety of weath­er fac­tors. It can be hard to cre­ate a struc­ture that can with­stand a Texas win­ter, but not impos­si­ble.

Make Wise Window Choices

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Because of the vari­a­tion from intense sum­mer heat to cool win­ters, you’ll want to part­ner close­ly with your sup­pli­ers when it’s time to select the right win­dows.

Well-insu­lat­ed win­dows will make the build­ing more com­fort­able, par­tic­u­lar­ly in win­ter. Accord­ing to Ener­gy Guide, win­dows with high insu­lat­ing val­ues are also less like­ly to have prob­lems when they come into con­tact with con­den­sa­tion from warm, moist indoor air.

Storm win­dows should be used when water­proof­ing your struc­ture against storms. These can be cost­ly when installed but are well worth the expense in the long run.

Make sure to pick win­dows that will work the best for the type of Texas win­ter your build­ing will see.

Select the Right HVAC System

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There’s more to HVAC than heat­ing and cool­ing. Humid­i­ty can play a big role in keep­ing the air at a com­fort­able tem­per­a­ture. The experts at Lennox Com­mer­cial offer a few sug­ges­tions to con­sid­er when decid­ing between a rooftop or split sys­tem:

  • Stage compressor(s) to match cool­ing capac­i­ty to cool­ing load require­ments.
  • Select HVAC equip­ment with OEM-designed and inte­grat­ed dehu­mid­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tems.
  • Choose the appro­pri­ate sen­si­ble to latent ratio for dehu­mid­i­fi­ca­tion.
  • Choose sim­ple con­trols for inte­grat­ed dehu­mid­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tems.

You can also put that Texas sun to work for you with a solar HVAC sys­tem. There are two main options:

  • Using solar pan­els to sup­ple­ment the elec­tri­cal draw of the com­pres­sor.
  • Divert­ing the refrig­er­ant to an evac­u­at­ed-tube solar ther­mal col­lec­tor on the roof as part of the compressor’s func­tion of heat­ing and com­press­ing the refrig­er­ant. This will then reduce the work­load of the com­pres­sor.

Pay Attention to Pipes

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When the tem­per­a­ture drops, exposed valves, pipes, and irri­ga­tion sys­tems are at risk of freez­ing. Make sure to prop­er­ly insu­late and cov­er these vital sys­tems. Also, take the time to eval­u­ate the avail­able pipe mate­ri­als for the building’s pur­pose.

Apart­ment build­ings, hos­pi­tals, and offices may have very dif­fer­ent plumb­ing needs, but they all share the need for pipes to keep work­ing, even dur­ing unpre­dictable win­ter weath­er. AAA Plumbers in Hous­ton has some advice on select­ing the right prod­uct to keep things flow­ing:

Copper Pipes: High­ly durable, resists cor­ro­sion, safe for hot and cold water sup­plies, and can stand up to high pres­sure, mak­ing it an ide­al choice for refrig­er­ant lines and under­ground ser­vice con­duits.

Stainless Steel Pipes: Expen­sive, but it is the pre­ferred option for areas in which cor­ro­sion is a major con­cern and strength is a pri­or­i­ty.

Cast-Iron Pipes: Designed to stand up to high pres­sure and car­ry large amounts of liq­uid. Cast-iron offers supe­ri­or fire resis­tance and noise-sup­pres­sion capa­bil­i­ties for waste dis­pos­al in apart­ment build­ings and con­do­mini­um com­plex­es.

Brass Pipes: Rust­proof and cor­ro­sion-resis­tant. Brass is among the most durable and longest last­ing choic­es for com­mer­cial plumb­ing instal­la­tions.

PEX Pipes: High tol­er­ance for heat and cold. PEX can be bent around obsta­cles to allow eas­i­er instal­la­tion and replace­ment, but it is not suit­able for out­door use because of its reac­tiv­i­ty with ultra­vi­o­let light.

PVC Pipes: Reacts poor­ly to extend­ed expo­sure to heat or ultra­vi­o­let light, which restricts its use pri­mar­i­ly to indoor and drainage appli­ca­tions. PVC is usu­al­ly rigid and require fit­tings to achieve turns and to avoid obsta­cles, and it will split or break rather than expand in freez­ing tem­per­a­ture con­di­tions.

CPVC Pipes: An inex­pen­sive choice. CPVC is capa­ble of stand­ing up to expo­sure to heat. It is usu­al­ly approved for the deliv­ery of drink­ing water and oth­er water sup­ply appli­ca­tions, but it will break rather than expand to accom­mo­date freez­ing liq­uid.

Build With the Best Wall Materials

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When you’re up against the poten­tial for cold weath­er and high winds, the first step is to make sure your wall mate­ri­als are up to the task.

If you are con­cerned about insu­la­tion and ther­mal mass, Bau­tex Blocks are a great choice for your walls. Bau­tex Block is also a FEMA rat­ed hur­ri­cane and tor­na­do safe room mate­r­i­al, in addi­tion to offer­ing a four-hour load bear­ing fire rat­ing. There’s noth­ing a Texas win­ter can dish out that it can’t with­stand.

In addi­tion to sav­ing your client mon­ey on ener­gy costs from improved insu­la­tion, it has noise reduc­ing prop­er­ties to cre­ate a qui­eter, health­i­er envi­ron­ment for the occu­pants. And Bau­tex Blocks are easy to install, sav­ing you both time and mon­ey on labor costs as well.

Keep Air and Moisture Out

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Accord­ing to the Nation­al Weath­er Ser­vice, dur­ing the win­ter and spring, it is not unheard of to see tem­per­a­ture swings of 50 degrees or more with­in one cal­en­dar day. In addi­tion to these tem­per­a­ture changes, Texas can see any­thing from rain and flood­ing to sleet and snow dur­ing the fall and win­ter months. This makes it crit­i­cal to main­tain an air­tight seal, both for over­all ener­gy effi­cien­cy, as well as resis­tance to mois­ture pen­e­tra­tion.

To achieve this air tight­ness, look into prod­ucts like Bau­tex AMB 20 Air and Mois­ture Bar­ri­er which pro­vides a tight and extreme­ly ener­gy-effi­cient build­ing enve­lope that will meet, and even exceed, the require­ments of most com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion projects. They are easy to install and pro­vide long-last­ing ener­gy effi­cien­cy and ther­mal per­for­mance.

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No mat­ter what kind of build­ing you’re design­ing, aware­ness is key. Don’t assume that win­ter isn’t a fac­tor in Texas, where every­thing is big­ger – even the weath­er.

Bau­tex is head­quar­tered in San Mar­cos, Texas, and we want to share our exper­tise in con­struct­ing safe and effi­cient struc­tures. Vis­it our web­site at www​.bau​texsys​tems​.com or give us a call at (855) 9228839 to dis­cuss your lat­est project.