In our previous articles about marijuana grow room air conditioning, we recommended you consult licensed professionals instead of attempting to install or retrofit air conditioning equipment yourself.
We also noted that the generic marijuana grow-room air conditioning formulas that growers share with each other aren’t reliable.
Before we continue, let’s review the fundamentals:
- You need air conditioning that can keep your marijuana grow room at an optimal temperature, even if the mercury outside hits 100°F or higher.
- Your air conditioning equipment choices are: a room air conditioner (window shaker), a split-unit room air conditioner, and/or a whole-house air conditioner. Of these, the window shaker is by far the worst choice.
- Most of you are growing in one room of a multi-room dwelling, which is cooled by whole-house air conditioner. Problem is, when you add even one 1000-watt HID grow op to a home, your existing whole-house AC isn’t likely to easily handle the increased heat.
- Unless you figure out your air conditioning cooling needs (including grow-room heat) before you size and install a whole-house air conditioner, your unit is likely to be underpowered. It will then run constantly when your grow lights are on. Your electricity bill will be sky high, and your AC unit will fail sooner. Also, air conditioning units that are running too much are a security risk, with police and rippers recognizing it as a sign of an indoor grow op.
So with this in mind, you can see that the best way to deal with marijuana grow-room air conditioning is to get everything set up properly and professionally before you run your first crop.
Reduce Your Risk By Planning Ahead
The smartest tactic is to call in licensed professionals and let them know that you have “unusual” air conditioning needs.
Yes, this is a hassle, and costs more than installing AC yourself. So why do you need licensed professionals?
For one thing, they have access to coolants, refrigerants, equipment, tools, and information you likely don’t have.
They have access to proper disposal infrastructure for defective air conditioning equipment and expired coolants. And there are laws and regulations put in place by the US Environmental Protection Agency about how to properly dispose of old AC equipment, including Freon.
These professionals are competent and alert, and have the training, experience, equipment and tools that allow them to handle installation and equipment issues clearly and accurately.
When amateurs attempt to install their own air conditioning and electrical infrastructure, they often create huge problems and safety risks for themselves.
For example, if you install a marijuana grow room with 1000 watts or more of lighting power, you significantly increase the amount of electricity your house draws.
This affects the transformer that feeds electricity to your house and to other homes in your neighborhood, and could overload the transformer and create power outages and fires that affect you and your neighbors.
One surefire way to get busted is to create a problem with the transformer service drop that funnels electricity to you and your neighbors.
When the transformer keeps blowing, the utility company will do a load trace — and discover your house is pulling way more electricity than any other house around you. Then a call will be placed to the police, who could pay you an unannounced visit.
Running a mega-watt marijuana grow room almost always requires changes to your wall wiring, the wiring to your AC unit (especially the air handler), room outlets, and main electrical panel to accommodate 25–30 amps or more of new electricity draw.
When I’ve seen grow-room fires, or grow rooms where the circuit breakers constantly trip or the air conditioning is failing, I see obscure problems just waiting to turn into epic disasters — and the grower was totally oblivious.
That’s why with almost every air conditioning install I’ve had done, the AC contractor has brought in a licensed electrician.
Eyes Open, Mouth Shut
The problem is, even in legalized states, you don’t want to tell anyone you’re running a cannabis grow op. They might suspect that you are — sometimes there’s nothing you can do to completely eradicate their suspicions — but never be so trusting that you admit to an associate (such as an air conditioning contractor) that you have anything to do with weed.
Keep your mouth shut.
I’ve had situations where an AC guy turns to me and says, “You’re gonna run a grow op here, aren’t you?”
And my response has been to act angry, indignant, insulted, and respond with, “The hell I am! You’re fired! Good day to you, kind sir!”
You want to pay very close attention to your intuition when you first deal with a contractor. If you have any hint that an outsider is unethical, indiscrete, dishonest or incompetent, then don’t do business with that
person. And if the contractor makes any mention of a marijuana grow
op, do not engage.
I’ve known growers who, against their better judgment, used contractors whose work was second-rate and of poor quality. When the growers sought a refund or a redo, they were at an inherent business disadvantage, because they worried about what the contractor might suspect or know about their grow op.
Growers have had contractors threaten to nark them out — a very
effective tactic to use against our community. In most cases I know of, the growers backed down rather than take the contractor to court, put the
situation into credit card dispute, or report the contractor to the Better
My advice? Be patient. You’ll eventually find the help you need. Better to be
prudent in selecting contractors, than hasty and ultimately invite a whole host of problems you didn’t need.
Look out for our fourth and final post on this topic, in which we’ll discuss what you should tell licensed contractors so they provide the air conditioning capacity you need without knowing you’re running a marijuana grow room.
We’ll also explore whether you can get reliable word of mouth contractor recommendations from inside the grower community, along with providing an insider list of the most reliable brands of air conditioners. So stay tuned to find out how to keep your garden cool.