Patio door & window issues

I was hired by client to document my findings while a contractor was in removing caulking and trim to find out if there was insulation installed between the new replacement windows & patio doors. Windows had insulation. Now the patio doors were a different story. Some had some insulation on the tops of them some did not. 2 of the 7 had insulation installed on the sides. The other 5 did not. It appeared they were so tight to the existing framing when installed there was no room to install insulation. The only seal was caulk. The client showed me her digital photos from this winter of major ice build up on the patio doors. She also showed me her heating/electrical bills (combined in our area) 2007/2008 they were averaging 350.00/month. 2008/2009 they were averaging 900.00/month. The humidity level in the home was around 50%. Shouldn’t the width of the patio doors have been 2" less than the rough opening to allow for proper shimming and insulation. What is you take on this situation??

lets see the photos.

A blower door test should have been done before and after repairs.

And infrared. Not sure about 2 inches but certainly 1 1/2. It seems to me though that there is more going on there. Pictures would be good.

We all want to see the images. Normally the rough opening for the door is 2" taller and wider than the door. Therefore, the rough opening for a 32" x 80" door (height is pretty standard) would be a 34" x 82".

Brian, You don’t say weather they are vinyl or aluminum sliders, makes a big difference if they are aluminum and no thermal break was installed. In these cases the freezing starts on the frame and spreads to the glass.
Be careful on calling out minimum rough openings, some manufacturers such as Anderson have nailing flanges that are not 1 1/2" so if you leave a gap of 2" you have nothing to nail to.

Most replacement windows come with an adjustable head cap that very seldom do they get insulated, and if the windows are installed in windows that had balance weights, you can almost be certain that the weight cavity was not insulated.

I have seen numerous patio doors installed with only enough room for caulking and they have had no freezing issues, unless the thermal break is installed

Good luck