The heart of every switched mode converter consists of several switching semiconductor elements. Due to their non-ideal behaviour there are ON state and switching losses heating up the silicon chip. That heat must effectively be transferred to the environment in order to prevent overheating or even destruction of the element. For a cost-effective design, the semiconductors should be operated close to their thermal limits. Unfortunately the chip temperature cannot be measured directly. Therefore a detailed understanding of how losses arise, including their quantitative estimation, is required. Furthermore, the heat paths to the environment must be understood in detail. This paper describes the main issues of loss generation and its transfer to the environment and how it can be estimated by the help of datasheets and/or experiments.