FAQ Thermal Bridges.
What is a “Thermal Bridge”?
A thermal bridge is any point in an insulation system where heat flow can occur at an accelerated rate.
Thermal bridges include valves and flanges - especially when left uninsulated - but can also include any point where the insulation is compressed or reduced in thickness.
What is the impact of thermal bridging?
As heat flows follow the paths of least resistance, thermal bridges make it much easier for energy to escape from an otherwise well insulated system.
Thermal bridges are also the points at which condensation and ice formation are most likely to occur on cold pipework.
How much greater will my heat losses be with thermal bridges?
This can be calculated using the rules laid out in the European standard EN 23993. Contact our Technical Service Department for more information.
Can I offset losses through thermal bridges by increasing the insulation thickness?
It is possible to offset losses by increasing the insulation thickness but this may not be cost effective. Doubling the insulation thickness on linear runs often has less impact on energy losses than ensuring even minimal measures are taken to prevent thermal bridging.
What are the best ways to prevent thermal bridging?
Thermal bridging can be minimised by good installation techniques.
All flanges and valves should be well insulated with an insulation thickness not less than that used on all linear pipe runs. Bends should never be left uninsulated and open gaps and joints in the insulation should be prevented.
Ideally pipe hangers, especially metal pipe hangers, should not be applied directly around the pipe but instead around insulated pipe supports.