The main reason to keep as much snow off your roof as possible is to try and prevent ice dams from forming. An ice dam is a ridge of ice near the roof’s edge that prevents the melting snow from draining into gutters. It is recommended to remove snow from the roof’s overhang when 6 inches or more in order to avert an ice damn.
If you prevent ice dams on your roof then you are more likely to prevent your roof from leaking and damaging the inside of your home.
The discerning factor to determine if you have an excessive load of snow isn’t the depth of snow but more the weight. One cubic foot of dry snow weighs about seven pounds while a cubic foot of wet snow weighs between 12 to 18 pounds. That’s double the weight and a foot of wet snow can cause thousands of pounds of stress on your roof. Most roofs are designed to handle excess snow, but there is always potential for structural damage, and with flat roofs, which are common in Flagstaff, there is a greater risk.
Here are 3 tips on how to SAFELY remove snow from your roof.
1. Have the Right Tool
Use a snow rake, especially on pitched roofs. You can purchase a snow rake from most hardware stores and they cost anywhere from $50-$180. Snow rakes allow you to clear the snow from your roof without climbing a ladder, which is extremely important. There are different types of roof rakes, but the best option is a rake that has small rollers, bumpers or wheels near the blade of the rake. These wheels assist in keeping the blade from scraping the granules off of roof shingles. Granules on your shingles help in resisting fire and protect the roof from harmful UV rays. You want to shave the snow down to where there is 2 to 3 inches left on the roof so you can avoid this damage.
Using the right tool and using it correctly is extremely important as you can potentially open your roof up to many other potential problems. Also, if you have a two story home, its important to purchase a pole extension to allow you to reach the edge of most two-story homes.
2. Take Safety Precautions
Ensure the ground isn’t slippery in where you are standing when you begin raking the roof. Many slip and fall accidents occur this way. It is also important that you have the upper body strength to handle the rake and pull off the snow. As we stated above, it always best to stay OFF a ladder when trying to clear snow off your roof. If you feel you can’t reach the snow from the ground, then it is time to call in a professional!
3. Work Up
Work from the roof overhangs up towards the peak of the roof, and only clear a foot of snow at a time. If you attempt to clear too much snow at a time you risk packing the snow, which can make it heavier and much more difficult. You want to be sure you focus on roof overhangs/eaves because these areas are more susceptible to ice dams forming.
Last things to keep in mind that you should not use metal tools as they run a higher risk of damaging your roof. Don’t use any electric heating devices like hair dryers or heat guns or open-flame devices.
If you are unable to rake your roof successfully, or your area is hit with a lot of wet snow in a short period of time, it may be time to contact a professional. And remember, SAFETY is key! Contact us today if you need professional assistance in snow removal or to get a FREE inspection on your roof.