Two Certified Home Inspectors on every Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Muskoka inspection. 705 205 4663  We reduce wait times on site for busy clients while ensuring a through inspection.  Older home inspector white bearded with glases doing home inspection in Muskoka, Barrie, Orillia,Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Midland, Port Carling,, Bala, Coldwater  and nearby areas.
 Bruce Grant   CMI ®     

 Certified Master Inspector

Providing Residential and Commercial Property Inspections for Muskoka
8 a.m. to 7 p.m., 7 Days a Week
Call 705 205 4663

Home Inspection and Meth, Marijuana, and Illegal drug production

Meth, Marijuana, and Illegal drug production in a home

Home cottage and commercial inspections around Orillia, Gravenhurst Bracebridge seldom turn up this kind of evidence, it is usually much more sutle  Photo of double boler set up made from crock pots and tubing. Very homemade looking. .,    Unfortunately it is true that drugs in our society are common enough that home buyers need to use caution in choosing a home. Drug production can cause havoc with home systems and leave lasting and often unseen danger behind.
After someone hides the majority of the evidence there are no tests to conclusively prove the home was used for drug production and thus an Inspector cannot legally state that it was. However, these are some of the signs I look for during a home inspection to advise my clients that further chemical testing for noxious substances is warranted prior to purchase.

These signs point to a home used as a meth lab.  


On home, cottage, and commercial, inspections in the Orillia,Balla, Port Carling, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge,Huntsville and throughout Muskoka area I will seldom see this type of explicit evidence . This photo shows a very badly stained drywall wall. The chemicals in the products given off during cooking have reacted with the paper and paint on the surface of the wall to leave this distinct mottled and splotched effect..      There could be yellow or red stain marks on countertops, carpets, or linoleum. I may find iodine stain marks on walls, blocked out windows, burns in countertops, on rugs, or on the floors, discarded cylinders, empty solvent jars or mason jars, these are often tossed into bushes and shrubbery at back of property.

You might see corroded gas canisters or empty tossed aside blister packs of ephedrine.

 When walking through a home you might also smell lingering evidence of anhydrous ammonia or hydrochloric acid (odours mainly. One is sharp and stinging the other is more acrid.) especially if the home has been closed up.


We will occasionally see this type of indirect evidence on home, cottage, and commercial, inspections in the Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Dorset, Parry Sound, and throughout Muskoka area. Small accumulations  of trash dumped at the back or sides of the property. Trash is usually half hidden in the bushes or pushed partway down a slope as it is here.    Plastic tubing is a common find, usually small discarded lengths, again often thrown about the property. You will often see rock salt or rock salt containers in a garage, but when you find 6-8 then it can be an indicator especially if you also find hydrogen peroxide bottles. Usually you will find large bulk size containers but sometimes you will find discarded cardboard cartons from cases of home size large bottles. Discarded lithium batteries, red stained coffee filters and unusual smells, such as a strong cat urine smell, ammonia, or vinegar odours are also all indicators of unusual home chemical use.


  Marijuana grow ops

On home, cottage, and commercial, inspections in the Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Port Carling, and throughout Muskoka area I will seldom see this type of directt evidence  Here we see a large grow opperation in a basement. Industrial lighting is hung low over the hundreds of plants and fans keep the humid air moving.  Indoor marijuana grow operations can be found in places such as houses, apartments, commercial businesses and abandoned factories. There are thousands of marijuana growers in the United States, but the problem is considerably more serious in Canada. In Canada, marijuana grow operations are becoming so common that many police departments have given up trying to fight them

   From 1994 to 2004, the number of marijuana cultivation offenses more than doubled, and Canadian law enforcement estimates that there are currently 50,000 grow operations in the country.


It is not just older shacks or isolated farmhouses we inspect closely for evidence of growops. On home, cottage, and commercial, inspections in the Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, and throughout Muskoka area we perform carefull inspections on newer subdivision homes like this one as well.  At first glance the home and property appears neat. The home has a good , even cover of snow on the roof which tells me that both the insulation is working properly and that there has, of late anyway, not been excessive heating like that used in a grow oop.   Grow operations can be found in any type of house and community. Homes with grow operations are not necessarily cheap rentals or suspicious-looking, crumbling old homes in ramshackle communities. Newer homes in upscale communities are increasingly used to hide grow operations. There seems to be a swing towards these homes as they have larger electrical services, they are often in areas where most people work away from the neighborhood and this gives growers the privacy they want, and they have easy access to highway systems for moving goods.


As we inspect a home or business here are a few of the indicators we keep in mind.


 During home, cottage, and commercial, inspections in the Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, and throughout Muskoka area I do sometimes find mould like that shown in the photo. Here we see a semi-finished drywall job that appears to have broken out with green mottling all over. The drywall compound shows white streaks while the drywall surface is almost covered with thumb tip sized blotches of pale green and a geryish green..   Heat and humidity are very destructive forces to a homes structure and its components. Water that is fed to plants will transpire and evaporate from the containers into the surrounding air. Cannabis plants also require warmth. Excess water vapour and high temperatures can lead to different defective conditions.

Moisture damage that is caused by grow operations will likely appear uniform throughout the room, unlike the generally localized damage caused by water leaks. Even normal house plants can create enough water vapour to damage shingles, but, damage is usually restricted to one or two small areas usually directly above wherever the air exfiltration into the attic occurs.


This is an extrodinary photo of a grow-op that has taken over the entire home. When on home, cottage, and commercial, inspections in the Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, and throughout Muskoka area I have as yet never seen this type of explicit evidence. In this photo the home has been gutted to the walls and the ceiling ripped out to allow more room for plants and equipment. This home is a total loss If it was a rental the owner has no recourse to insurance and the entire investment is gone. The town will put in a demolition order against it and that too the owner will be held responsible for.

  The evidence of a large marijuana grow operation may cause a considerable amount of water damage spread out over a large area. Home inspectors will often find large mould accumulations and or evidence of large scale mould remediation efforts. Mould grows fast in humid environments. It can be a health concern, as well as a source of structural decay.


This photo shows a hydro pole in a single family home area. On it we see two mast heads for service where there should only be one. Performing the best in home, cottage, and commercial, inspections in the Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, and throughout Muskoka area means looking for small clues like this may be the only evidence left after the growers have pulled out.  Grow operations, even relatively small ones, require an enormous amount of electricity for lighting. Some utility companies will report suspiciously high levels of consumption to police. In order to avoid this possibility, growers will often illegally bypass the electric meter to gain access to electricity without any record of the theft. They accomplish this by tapping electricity from the power lines before they reach the meter. I look for any type of inventive yet improper or dangerous electrical connections, and for evidence there was an improper hook up because after the electrical has been disconnected the only evidence a home inspection may reveal as a clue may be an extra set of mast clamps on the service drop pole.


This photo shows a very large pile of trash containing chemical bottles, used coffee filters and plastic jugs just like those I might see when performing  home, cottage, and commercial, inspections in Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, and throughout Muskoka.

  I may on occasion encounter a skunky marijuana odour while investigating enclosed areas. Other odours may also be apparent, such as those from mothballs, air fresheners or chlorine, which are used in an attempt to mask the marijuana smell. I may see evidence of unusual garbage strewn across lawn like items used for growing marijuana, such as wiring, PVC piping and nutrient containers, that have been discarded and left around the house. A freshly painted home might cover up most of the smell but I might see tape remnants around window and door frames or just visible under fresh paint. I know this may indicate where windows and doors were covered in dark plastic or newspaper. Bleaching of paint around ceiling where strong lighting perpetually illuminated rooms and unusual fencing and security systems may also give me clues.


When I am performing a home, cottage, or commercial, inspection in the Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, or  throughout the Muskoka area I would be very wary of a vent through the roof without the proper fitting and flashing, It would also draw my attention if the vent did not hook up to a service like a bath fan or range hood. You have to ask just why was it there and now abandoned.  Venting plays a huge part in making grow ops work so this aspect is sometimes the only evidence left after coverup repairs. During my home inspections I get very suspicious when I see chimneys that have been repaired in more than one area inside the home and when I see 2x2 patches of clean roof sheeting high up on the roof it usually means repairs have been made to areas that were roughly cut out for additional vents. I start looking very closely at drywall ceilings then to see if there are repairs in each room.

As home inspectors dedicated to client service we keep our eyes and  noses open.