Infrared Cameras Can Detect Thermal Bridging, Air Leaks, Wet Insulation

By Eric J. Seaverson, P.E.

August 2009

Although air movement transports cold air into a building and forces warm air out, thermal bridging through the wall system also can increase the load on the mechanical system. Thermal bridging consists of temperature gradients through components, such as cold, exterior air cooling a window frame, which then cools interior air.

The wall system also can contribute to heat losses and gains from thermal bridging. Many facilities use fiberglass batts in the wall cavity between steel studs to insulate the wall. But the insulation is inserted between the steel studs, breaking the continuity of the insulation. Thermal bridging occurs because the steel studs extend from the exterior — cold — side of the wall to the interior — warm — side of the wall.