Thermal Bridging

May 10, 2022


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Photographer: Dale Hugo 

Summary Author: Dale Hugo 

Thermal bridging in home insulation refers to a more conductive surface transferring building heat to the outside. An example of this would be bare concrete or metal, having a low insulation value, that absorb indoor warmth and transmit it to the colder outside environment. Thus, causing a heat loss for your home. There are ways of avoiding this in new construction, like putting air gaps in structural members, or in older buildings, by paying attention to heat loss surfaces and properly insulating them.

On this home, near where I live in northeastern Illinois, we see snow from a light snowfall earlier in the day only over the roof joists – snow in between these joists has sublimated. The roof between the joists acts as a thermal bridge, but the roof above the joists is insulated by the wood. In a way, it’s a reverse thermal bridge over the joists. Note that after the sun popped through the clouds, within a few minutes this affect was no longer visible.

It seems there’s always something I can do to help avoid heat loss through the more conductive parts of my 60-year-old home. Without question, I’ve saved money over the years by paying attention to thermal bridging.


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