Grow Tip: How To Reduce Your Heat Signature
If you have been watching the new recently, you may have seen that the cops are using the weather to hunt out cannabis growers. As crazy as this sounds, it is not through some sorcerous power, or mystical divination that they have accomplished this. No, they simply watch the snow melt. More specifically, they look for roofs where the snow has melted.
HUH!? HOW DOES SNOW MELTING CATCH CANNABIS GROWERS?
The art of growing cannabis often involves some pretty powerful lights that pump out a lot of heat. When you combine this with the fact that most hobby growers will grow in their attic you have potential for a lot of heat to escape. Even if your roof is insulated, the heat created by a cannabis grow room can easily be enough to melt the snow on your roof and act as a dead giveaway to any police helicopter surveying the area.
Don’t rest easy if there is no snow where you live though. The police use thermal cameras, both in the air and on the ground, to assess if a house is leaking any suspicious heat. Obviously, for helicopters this usually means roofs, but for the policeman on the street, this can be any abnormal heat signatures in walls, excessively hot heat vents, and warm building foundations (for basement growers).
BEATING THE HEAT
As we have established, heat can be one of the biggest giveaways when it comes to hobby growing cannabis at home. Here are a few ways to reduce your heat signature and make things safer.
Use LED Lighting
Although LEDs were not really powerful enough to be viable when they first hit the cannabis scene, they have since come on in leaps and bounds. It is now possible to buy some very high quality LED growing lights that can push cannabis plants well beyond conventional limits. What makes LEDs so attractive in this situation is that they produce very little heat – almost nothing compared to traditional HID grow lights; and as lighting is the main source of excess heat in any grow, investing in some decent LEDs can pretty much negate the problem.
As a side note, LEDs also use less power, making your usage look much less suspicious to energy companies.
Grow in a cellar or basement room
Although it is still possible to detect from street level, a basement grow is going to be much less obvious than a roof pumping out excessive heat. Basements also tend to be naturally cooler, which should help maintain a lower heat signature. Just bear in mind that concrete absorbs heat like nobody’s business, so make sure to raise your grow on a subfloor to stop foundations getting too warm.
Cool your exhaust
Disguising a heat exhaust can be difficult, and abnormal heat exhausts are one of the things that police will look out for. If you vent hot air directly outside, find a way to cool or hide it. A great way to cool hot air is to place a wet towel wicking water from a tray partially over the end of the exhaust. Or alternatively, you could disguise you exhaust to look like a sewage/gutter pipe, and have it hook up into your actual sewage/gutter pipe – pumping it down into the ground. A combination of the two is normally ideal, as a hot pipe can be suspicious, as can a towel covering the end of a heat exhaust.
Build a room within a room
For the ultimately paranoid, building an insulated room within a room can be a great way to cut heat. This false wall will create an air gap between your false wall and your actual wall. To do this, build an interlocking wall of foam/insulation board between your grow and the walls. Then set up a fan or ventilation system to pump cold air into this created air gap. This will help keep the outside wall cold to any thermal imaging devices, whilst locking in the heat from your grow room safely within the building.
When it comes down to it, you have to use a bit of common sense and ingenuity. It is always better to go overboard and remain safe, then be lazy and end up with the police at your door.