A Grow-Op: “The House Is Finished”


A Grow-Op: “The House Is Finished”

 “The House Is Finished” – That quote from the newspaper says it all. Grow-ops do an incredible amount of damage to a home.

Most large metropolitan areas in Canada and the US have from 300, 500 and up to 1000 in some cases, discovered every year. That’s more than one a day!


Headline – “$1 million in pot plants found in Pointe-Claire house. Two arrested.”

Details: Newspaper article

Grow-op plant

This one is in my city. And this house will basically have to be gutted and rebuilt.

I just heard from a neighbour about a home less than a block away that had been used as a warehouse for stolen goods. Once the thieves were arrested and the stuff removed it went back to being a regular house with a family living in it.

But not so for grow-ops. That house is just a structure and a badly damaged one at that. It’ll be a long time before it sees a family living there again.


Here’s the rub. These houses don’t disappear. They get repaired, patched or covered up. Owners often don’t have the money to thoroughly correct and rebuild these structures back into family homes.

Why? In Canada, at least, you cannot get a mortgage for a property that has been used as a grow-op. Not from an A lender (bank), nor B, nor C. Period. Nada. Nope. Not going to happen. At all.

So landlords or investment owners have to have deep pockets to restore these building. Few have the resources, so the cover-up attempts happen.

So if you buy such a home or building and later discover that it has been a grow-op, you’re in trouble. You won’t be able to refinance to do corrective repairs, insurance won’t cover it and your mortgage will be at risk of being rescinded.

Seeking redress from prior owners who will be long gone, or in jail, will be problematic to say the least.

What protection do you have in the buying process?; It’s your building inspector.

You need that inspection to identify what has happened in the house, the kinds of repairs done and why they occurred.

Remember, a properly restored home will be fine. But an improper restoration or a cover-up is something you need to know about.








Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

Burn Baby Burn – Candle “heaters”


BURN BABY BURN       –   Candle Heaters  

A few tea-lite candles, a metal pan and some flower pots – emergency, supplemental, or off-grid heating or something else entirely?

 This is a link to a YouTube Video that was sent to a family member. They were impressed with it but I know the science is wrong and the safety risks are huge.


 Videos like this have been circulating on line for about 10 to 12 months now. If you do a search for candle heaters you will get dozens of videos, all variations of the same idea.

Some claim that these contraptions create heat. That claim is not true, but they do concentrate it to a point where you can sense it, or feel it. This sense-able heat is what you value if you are chilled.

They are more properly described as heat concentrators.

People are interested because it promises heating that is cheap, off grid and easily made from common materials. Useful for emergencies and power outages, etc..


All this is true….,

HOWEVER tea-lite candles liquefy when they are overheated.

They overheat when they are concentrated in close proximity.

The thin metal cups the candles sit in can then collapse, spilling flaming hot paraffin into the tray or onto a broader surface.

This creates a larger flame, and it can get hotter, and flame reaches out, several feet up and out from the ‘heater’. The metal ‘bread box’ container will get hot enough to burn and eventually ignite anything it is in contact with.


The cold temperatures and rolling electrical blackouts can make impromptu ‘heaters’ like this seem like a great idea.


So, if you must, use it for emergencies, but prepare yourself with a fire extinguisher or other means to effectively put out a fire (Not water – it’s the same as a grease fire).

And DO NOT LEAVE ANY BURNING CANDLE UNATTENDED, not even in a neighbouring room.


Remember candles burn fuel and fuel burning heaters use oxygen and release gases into the home, including carbon monoxide.

It may seem counter intuitive to open a window (a crack), but it is the smart thing to do.

 Burnt table

This is a burn mark on a work table from one of these ‘heaters’.

Think about it.




You can also see my posting about this on https://www.facebook.com/thehouseinspector 

This is my Facebook business page. I invite you to go there. Please ‘like’ my page if you have not already. 

You can also ‘like’ the article, leave comments (please do) and share the information with your friends and contacts. I will reciprocate. Send me links to your business pages.


Robert Butler




Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

Cutting corners – Panel opening.

hole cover

It’s a cover and yes… it’s a cover for electrical box, but it’s not a cover for this electrical box.

It looks like a frugal and creative solution.

It is the cover for common wall/ceiling connection boxes and it does prevent errant fingers or tools from being poked in where they should’nt be.
However, considering that the parts actually made to cover those openings are very inexpensive (A pack of ten is less than $2.)

Think about it…….Is it really a good idea to sink a few screws into a hot electrical panel?

And do you think this was done by a liscenced professional electrician?

Where else have corners been cut?


N.B. Notice the hand labeled numbering system imposed on the breakers.

Manufactureres label the odd numbers on one side and even on the other.

You can even see the numbers stamped in the face of the panel (on the right).

But they are upside down to us!.

Without even opening the panel cover I know I’m going to find “issues”, if not outright “errors”, and that’s exactly what I found.


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post