If you’re a renter, an indoor grow room is almost always a violation of the rental agreement, and any modifications you make to the room will likely cost you your security deposit. Growing indoors creates heat and humidity that affects the whole building’s climate control system. Indoor grow rooms that are improperly run may host mold, mildew and pests that affect human health and comfort. Indoor grow rooms require fans and equipment that generate substantial amounts of telltale noise and vibration.
Basements are common features of homes in some regions of the US, and offer many benefits to marijuana cultivators who are repurposing them as grow rooms. A finished-basement grow room with sufficient odor control and noise dampening can be so stealthy that people on the upper floors of the dwelling will likely have no idea there’s a grow room lurking below. Basements are usually much cooler than the upper floors of the home, which means heat from grow lights is mitigated more easily. Basements can be clandestinely vented, and there are usually no windows that allow light from grow lamps to escape. Not only that, basements can be pitch black during lights-off cycle, and if properly sealed and climate controlled, they’re virtual fortresses that block out such pests as spider mites, broad mites, thrips, aphids, fungus gnats, whiteflies and root aphids. Basement grow ops also offer extra security that protects growers against thieves and law enforcement. There are, however, disadvantages to running a basement grow room, including: Basement floors are usually cold, which can damage cannabis roots. Basements almost always need a sump pump and dehumidifier to remove ground water and humidity.
This requires a 100 percent constant electricity supply in the form of a vented generator. Poorly ventilated basements and those without adequate climate control can be a host for molds and mildews. Basements might be too cold for cannabis, especially during winter and lights-off cycle. Many a grower has suffered strains and injuries while lugging gear, bales of soilless mix, and grow lights up and down basement stairs. To that end, most growers will have to make a substantial investment in plumbing, wiring, circuit panel upgrades, venting, paneling, insulation and drywall to make the basement a worthwhile place for growing marijuana. A basement is where you’ll likely find the dwelling’s infrastructure for water heaters, air handlers, water pipes and water mains, electrical panels and washer-dryers. Should this equipment need servicing, the presence of a grow op in the basement presents something of a security risk dilemma. I followed the instructions mapped out in Ed Rosenthal’s cannabis grow book Closet Cultivator. I used a 250-watt high intensity discharge fixture, a metal halide bulb for grow phase, and a high pressure sodium lamp for bloom phase. The closet measured a little less than four square feet. The plants didn’t do well and I vowed to never do a closet grow again. The only successful closet grows I’ve seen were in large walk-ins, and even this isn’t an ideal environment for cannabis cultivation. The disadvantages of closet cannabis gardens are numerous and include: Heat buildup and no easy way to remove heat or deliver cooled air. Light, noise and heat infiltrating the larger room that the closet is in. With a faulty door, this garage doesn’t present a secure option for indoor cannabis growing. Outbuildings do not include greenhouses, because they usually aren’t hardened and completely sealed off from the outside world, so they lack the sturdiness and proximity control necessary to meet the definition of indoor cannabis growing. Garages attached directly to houses are sometimes used for indoor growing, but not often, because they present multiple difficulties, including: A garage grow room supplants the use of the space for its intended purpose of protecting vehicles and housing infrastructure and equipment. A garage adjoining the house is less secure than a room in the house and can be especially insecure if the garage door is old, manually operated or defective. Most house-linked garages aren’t plumbed or equipped with electrical wiring and insulation sufficient to support an indoor grow op. Detached garages and purpose-built outbuildings, on the other hand, offer you the chance to custom design an ideal space for your grow op. Successful home growers tend to live in a house on a relatively large property and have built a customized and detached grow room behind their home within a fenced yard, so the detached grow structure isn’t visible from the street or from beyond the property line. When you plan and build your ideal detached grow-op structure, this removes the hassle of having to retrofit an existing room. You make the sealed structure exactly what you need it to be. Solar power or a separate municipal power grid and generator to handle the high-watt, high-amp draw of growing. The customized grow op will ultimately save you money, increase yields, protect plants from pests and diseases, and provide a near-perfect indoor environment that’s more difficult to duplicate in a house or apartment. The detached structure won’t be inside your home, so visitors aren’t going to see or smell your cannabis. And children need never know what’s in the detached structure at the bottom of the backyard.
However, there are a handful of disadvantages for growers choosing a detached structure for their grow room: If you want to be legal, you have to get a construction permit and code inspections. Many municipalities are bureaucratic and will make this process costly and time-consuming. Inspectors may also ask you what is the intended purpose of the structure.
Because the unit isn’t attached to the main dwelling and may be located far from your home (if your property is large), it’s not as easy to know if someone is tampering with your detached grow op. The cost of constructing a detached structure, even if you do all the labor yourself, can be at least $3,000 and in some cases much higher than that.