Thermal Bridging and Windows

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Reviewed by Bryan Baeumler

In the realm of energy conservation and home comfort, the concept of "thermal bridging" frequently arises, but its understanding remains somewhat elusive.

Nevertheless, its implications for your home's heating and cooling expenses of thermal bridging are undeniable.

What Is Thermal Bridging?

Thermal bridging signifies the transmission of heat through a building element, like a wall, roof, or window frame, which possesses a lower thermal resistance compared to the adjacent materials.

In simpler terms, it resembles having a chink in your home's thermal armour, enabling heat to seep out during winter and infiltrate during summer, rendering your indoor climate regulation less efficient and costlier.

How Windows Play a Role in Thermal Bridging

Windows, as pivotal components of a building's envelope, play a pivotal role in the occurrence of thermal bridging. Their substantial surface area and frequently conductive materials can function as conduits for heat transfer. Here's how windows are implicated in thermal bridging:

  • Frame Composition: Window frames are typically crafted from materials like aluminum, wood, or vinyl. Aluminum frames, specifically, exhibit high conductivity and can readily facilitate heat exchange between your home's interior and exterior.
  • Spacer Bars: In windows with double-glazed or triple-glazed designs, spacer bars are employed to maintain the gap between the glass panes. If these spacer bars are constructed from metal, they can establish a thermal bridge, permitting heat to traverse.
  • Insulating Glass: Although glass is not a potent heat conductor in itself, it can still contribute to thermal bridging if the window's overall design lacks appropriate insulation. Older or poorly constructed windows may also suffer from inadequate insulation between the glass and frame.
  • Installation: The manner in which windows are installed is crucial in averting thermal bridging. Incorrectly sealed or fitted windows may give rise to air infiltration, leading to energy loss.

Strategies for Diminishing Thermal Bridging

Mitigating thermal bridging around windows is imperative for augmenting energy efficiency and preserving a comfortable indoor atmosphere. The following are effective approaches:

  • Select Energy-Efficient Windows: When contemplating window replacement, opt for models renowned for their energy efficiency, boasting low U-values and high R-values. Seek out double or triple glazing, low-emissivity (Low-E) coatings, and gas-filled gaps between panes, as they enhance insulation.
  • Opt for the Right Frame Material: Elect window frames that exhibit less conductivity than conventional aluminum frames. Vinyl and wood frames deliver superior thermal performance, with vinyl being a budget-friendly choice.
  • Harness Thermal Breaks: Consider windows that incorporate thermal breaks within their frame design. Thermal breaks are insulating substances positioned between the inner and outer sections of the frame, thwarting heat conduction and minimizing thermal bridging.
  • Elevate Window Installation: Engage professionals for window installation to guarantee a meticulous, hermetic seal. Properly installed windows can diminish air leakage, in turn curtailing energy loss and thermal bridging.
  • Employ Window Coverings: Implement energy-efficient window coverings such as drapes or blinds to curb heat transfer through windows. These can serve to retain warmth during winter and obstruct excessive heat during summer.
  • Embrace Window Film: The application of Low-E window film can augment the insulating qualities of extant windows. It reflects heat back into the room, curbing heat dissipation in winter and heat ingress in summer.
  • Insulate Surrounding Windows: Adequately insulate the vicinity around your windows to curtail thermal bridging. This entails sealing gaps and utilizing insulation materials to fill voids.

Is Thermal Breaking Necessary for Windows?

A frequent question that arises when broaching the subject of thermal bridging in windows is whether thermally broken windows are a prerequisite. The response hinges on your distinct energy efficiency objectives and climate.

In regions characterized by extreme temperatures, where maintaining indoor comfort is paramount, thermally broken windows can serve as an excellent choice.

Thermally broken windows are conceived with a non-conductive substance, typically a plastic or rubber strip, interposed between the inner and outer segments of the window frame. This effectively interrupts the heat transmission path, curtailing thermal bridging. While thermally broken windows may entail a marginally higher initial expenditure, they can yield substantial energy savings over time, constituting a judicious investment.


Window glass replacement cost

What Are Thermal Bridges in Window Frames?

Comprehending thermal bridging in window frames is indispensable for making educated determinations regarding your home's energy efficiency.

Thermal bridging in window frames arises when frame materials, such as aluminum or steel, facilitate heat transfer between your home's interior and exterior. This heat transmission can lead to augmented energy consumption and decreased comfort.

To counter thermal bridging in window frames, manufacturers have pioneered inventive solutions, including thermal breaks and advanced frame materials. These innovations aid in minimizing heat transmission and elevating the comprehensive thermal performance of windows.

In the pursuit of energy efficiency, comprehending thermal bridging and its implications for your home is imperative. Windows, as pivotal constituents of your home's envelope, can either exacerbate or alleviate thermal bridging. By opting for energy-efficient windows, selecting suitable frame materials, and adopting correct installation methodologies, you can markedly curtail heat loss and gain via your windows.

Ultimately, thermal bridging warrants close consideration in the context of window replacement or home upgrades. Make enlightened decisions, invest in energy-efficient windows, and take measures to abate thermal bridging to enrich your home's comfort, diminish energy bills, and contribute to an eco-friendlier future.

If you’re ready to heighten the energy efficiency of your home by replacing your windows, don't hesitate to reach out to Canadian Choice Windows and Doors today. Our professionals are primed to guide you through the process of selecting the ideal windows for your requirements, ensuring that you experience the perks of diminished thermal bridging and amplified comfort. Make the choice for a more energy-efficient and comfortable home today!


Julia Gurevich
Julia Gurevich

Julia Gurevich is a versatile content writer with a passion for delivering captivating narratives through a diverse and attentive approach. Her eye for detail helps her craft content that resonates with audiences across varied home improvement industries, capturing the perfect balance between information and entertainment. As a content coordinator, Julia takes pride in delivering content that leaves a lasting impact through her ability to navigate seamless content strategies and collaborative projects between teams. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Toronto’s cultural landscape, visiting local parks, and getting to know members of the community through events and activities.

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