Why Is Mold an Issue With Grow-Ops?

Why Is Mold an Issue With Grow-Ops?
Depending on the state or province you live in, there may or may not be a list of homes or properties that were used as grow-ops, which in most instances are marijuana production sites, but can also be associated with other drug production like methamphetamines. In Saskatchewan, for instance, there is no mandated registry of grow-ops, meaning that someone could purchase a home without even knowing that it was used as a grow-op.
Mold is an issue with grow-ops for one critical reason: humidity. In order to properly grow marijuana indoors, high humidity and moisture is required. Essentially, an indoor grow-op is a greenhouse inside a house or building, meaning the plants are watered consistently and subject to grow-lights which simulate sunlight. These lights are on 24/7 and will get hot. The hot and humid conditions required to grow marijuana causes significant damage to the property: warped wood, collapsed drywall, and large amounts of mold that will begin growing everywhere. The air quality of a grow-op operation is further compromised because pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers are used to maximize production.
How do you know if the home you are living in or considering purchasing was used as a grow-op? According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (PDF), here are the signs to look out for to spot if the house you’re considering buying (or the one you’re already in) was used as a grow-op:
1. Modified ductwork that doesn’t seem to make sense.
2. Circular holes in floor joists or roof trusses from venting (look for holes that have been patched).
3. Chunks of brickwork on the exterior that have been replaced.
4. Brown stains in soffits, created by external venting, or brand-new soffits.
5. Stains on basement floors caused by containers that sat unmoved for long periods of time, or stains in laundry tubs.
6. Modified wiring and electrical panel. Sometimes, live wires can still be in the insulation.
7. New plumbing for water supply and drains.
8. Foundations and concrete walls cored or breached to get wiring around the hydro meter.
9. Warped/rotted wooden structures due to excessive moisture.
If any of these signs are present, you may be dealing with a former grow-op.
The starting point to determine the extent of mold contamination is to call an expert for a professional mold inspection which will likely require air quality tests.
If you have questions, call us toll free, 1-888-909-6653 or use the form below.