Thermal bridging

What is thermal bridging?


Thermal bridging 

With the looming energy crisis, every household is aiming for maximum energy efficiency. We think about insulation and full washing machine loads but it is important to look at the big picture. Look at the building elements and determine the total heat loss. As an example – the heat rises so not insulated roofs may cause additional heat losses. There is one more often overlooked problem – a thermal bridge.

As a homeowner, your goal is to keep as much heat inside your property as possible. There may be an invisible route to the heat escaping your house. You may have not come across the technical term: thermal bridging. Even though it sounds like a secret builder’s knowledge it is actually really simple. Thermal bridges or cold bridges – as some builders call them are just building flaws where there is a gap in the insulation layer interrupting the heat flow. The example often given by specialists is – imagine putting a rod through the whole width of the wall. That rod with break the continuous insulation and will cause a thermal break. That break, causing heat loss will be a thermal bridge. Another reason for a thermal bridge happening is when building materials used are not conducting enough heat, which causes a change in the surface temperature.

wall crack
wall panel

Main types of thermal bridges:

  • repeating

We call repeating thermal bridges where there is a predictable pattern, for example, bricks and mortar.

  • non-repeating thermal bridges

where the building components are joining for example where walls are joining or walls and roof, or if there is a break in the heat transfer near windows.

Those are the common weak spots where thermal bridges may occur and cause additional heat loss.

Does it matter?

In a short answer – yes.

Long term, that invisible to a naked eye problem may cause an array of issues.

  • excessive condensation

moisture is naturally drawn to cold spots, so the places where there there is interrupted heat flow, such as thermal bridges are more susceptible to condensing moisture from the air

  • mould growth

    excess of condensation causes mould growth which is damaging to your health and possessions

  • energy loss – high energy bills

a lot of warm air escapes from the house but thermal bridges will cause the additional heat loss and will definitely affect energy efficiency and the property’s EPC accordingly.

wall joint
man on wire outside building
thermal image of a house

Can I fix it?

Nowadays architects and builders are equipped with tools and equations to minimise the thermal bridges. Unfortunately in the previous century, that problem was often overlooked for various reasons.

Unfortunately, you can’t really DIY it. You can order a survey which detects all the cold spots, dampness and gaps in insulation using thermal imaging.

If it’s causing distress to you or your family, you may want to consider selling your property. Companies like Speed Property Buyers specialise in purchasing problematic properties. We have years of experience with dealing with houses that require attention. Speak to us today, our friendly team will answer all your questions in regards to a quick sale.

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