Thermal bridging is the name given to the flow of heat through your home from one object to another. Wood and other traditional construction materials can conduct heat easily, and this means that despite having insulation in place, heat can still escape via objects or materials in the home.
There are some measures that can be taken. Having effective cavity walls with a layer of insulation will reduce this problem, as will fitting good quality, well-insulated windows. By using cavity closures around the window frames and door frames in particular, you can prevent significant heat loss and temperature shifts.
Though it can be difficult and sometimes costly to fit insulation into the walls of older homes, there are still ways to prevent thermal bridging. For example, when laying insulation in an attic, it’s important to cover the ceiling joists with a thick layer of insulation, as these are a particular thermal bridging spot.
Every cavity should also be covered well. A common mistake with attic insulation is to only go as far as the framing of the ceilings, leaving the frames themselves exposed. This enables heat to transfer to the frames and ultimately escape. Although the frames of the roof cannot be covered, the joists certainly can.
There are some other tricks that people with older homes can employ to help keep in the heat. Thermal, heat-reflecting is a recent product introduced on the market that helps reduce thermal bridging and provides added insulation to your home.
Exterior outlets are big offenders when it comes to letting heat escape. Reduce the problem with some insulating placed between them and the walls of the house.
Of course, windows and doors are the number one hot spot for thermal bridging. Aluminum frames in particular will let heat through easily as will single panes of glass. Replacing any windows and doors in your home with uPVC windows that are thermally insulated will effectively help heat stay in your house. As well as keeping your fuel bills down, uPVC is an environmentally friendly material because it is 100% recyclable and extremely long lasting. You won’t need to replace your uPVC windows for decades.
Addressing these few thermal bridging offenders will help reduce your heating bills and create a warmer environment in which to spend those cooler months of the year.
(article includes information provided by Chris Coxon, a British thermal bridging expert)