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Posted on Jul 17, 2013

Identifying Grow Houses

Detecting a Marijuana Grow House

To grow plants indoors, 1,000-watt light bulbs are used in lieu of sunshine. The heat that is generated by the light bulbs requires multiple air conditioning units and fans to cool the house. The house may have:

  • An excess amount of roof vents.
  • Unusual exhaust fan noises.
  • Unconventional amounts of steam coming from vents on the house during cold weather.
  • High amounts of .condensation around windows.
  • Outbuildings with air conditioners.
  • Purchase of very expensive heat lamps for unexplained reasons.

Power is diverted from a home’s meter to the grow house to prevent utility companies from becoming wary of large amounts of power running to a single home. The tell-tale sign of a grow house is diverted power. Signs of power diversion include tampering with electric meters (damaged or broken seals may be visible) or the ground around them, unexplained and excessively high utility bills and house or utilities obtained under assumed names with payment made in cash.

Normally, people do not actually reside in a grow house, which explains suspicious activity such as:

  • Light timers used in order to make it appear as if people lived in the house, when in actuality few people are seen entering or leaving the home.
  • People making only late night or short visits.
  • People bringing items that are unusual into the house (for example: bags of soil, lots of plant roots and potting plants).
  • People constantly carrying items in and taking items away in garbage bags, but little or no garbage being put out.
  • Windows that are always covered.
  • People coming to take the garbage out, cut the lawn or do other maintenance and then leaving shortly after.
  • Individuals only entering or exiting through the garage and always keeping the garage door closed
  • Seeing people coming and going from the house only a day or two of the week.
  • A strange amount of vehicular traffic that carries individuals on or off the property. Entrance gates are usually locked after entry with most of the traffic occurring at night.
  • New neighbors that never take furniture or groceries into the house.

Other signs that a large scale growing operation is occurring include:

  • Strange smells or strong smells of fabric softener.
  • Water lines and electrical cords running to a basement, pool or outbuilding.
  • Noises of hammering or drilling into the foundation.
  • Large amounts of potting soil around the house.
  • Excessive security such as guard dogs, keep out signs, high fences, heavy chains or locks on gates.
  • Large green houses or barns on property where this is not commonplace.

Excess fertilizer, garden hoses, plastic PVC pipes, chicken wire, long pieces of 2×2 lumber, various sizes of pots, machetes, camouflage netting, different sizes of ladders painted with green and brown paint, green plastic garden ties, cans of green spray paint, large trash bags, lanterns, portable heaters, extension cords, heat lamps and fans.


If you have any information regarding any suspected illegal drug activity you can make a report through the Crime Stoppers of Ocala. Please click on the link below to make a report. Thank you.

    Call 368-STOP