How to Safely Remove Snow from Your Roof? - Crucial Roof Services

How to Safely Remove Snow from Your Roof?

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This time of year, especially in the colder parts of the country, the local forecasts call for heavy snow, winter storm warnings, and blizzards. In places like New England, it seems we go through this all the time—a foot or more of snow is no big deal, right?

However, have you ever stopped to think about the effect all that snow has on your roof, especially if your roof has a low slope or is flat? If you want to avoid ice dams or the structural damage that is caused by the weight of all that snow, it must be removed.

The most important thing to consider when removing snow from your roof is whether to do it yourself or call a professional. The guide will help you make the safest and smartest choices when it comes to removing snow from your roof.

At what point should you remove the snow from your roof?

The first decision you should make is when to remove the snow—no need to spend any more time or money than necessary. So, how can you tell when there’s too much snow or ice dams are forming? Consider these questions:

  • Is your roof shallow or flat? These types of roofs are more likely to suffer structural damage or collapse from snow because the snow tends to accumulate faster. Because of the lack of slope, water will accumulate, even as the snow melts, which will refreeze, causing ice dams. So, this type of roof will need to be cleared sooner that a higher pitched roof.
  • How wet is the snow? The density of the snow makes a big difference in the weight. Fluffy, dry snow does not weigh as much as wet snow or older snow that has accumulated. You can also end up with old layers of snow that have melted and then frozen, causing even more weight. 
  • Are there snow drifts or is the snow distributed unevenly on your roof? Snow does not usually spread itself out evenly over the surface of your roof as it’s falling, and therefore is likely to accumulate unevenly. In addition, the wind can move snow, creating snow drifts. The heaviest accumulation is often where slopes or exterior walls come together.
  • How do you check for snow overload? One way to do this is by opening your doors and windows, one at a time. If they do not easily open or feel like they are stuck, your roof probably is bearing too much weight from the snow.

How much snow does it take to collapse a roof?

Most roofs are built to hold up during normal snowfall—up to about three feet. However, the overall structural integrity (design, age, etc) of your roof needs to be considered when evaluating how much snow it can hold.

Although it doesn’t always apply, consider this when making a decision about the amount of snow your roof can hold:

The weight of a 1-inch layer of ice or water per square foot is about 5 pounds. And according to most meteorologists, it takes 12 inches of snow to make 1 inch of ice or water. The average roof should be able to withstand 3 to 4 feet of snow, but keep in mind that denser snow weighs more.

When trying to determine whether your roof will hold up, think about the following:

  • The age of your roof – this will affect its structural integrity
  • Has it had a recent inspection—within the past 10 years
  • The pitch of your roof—is it flat or sloped
  • The amount of snow that has accumulated – consider the above guidelines
  • Are there any ice dams – these can impede the draining of melted snow or ice from your roof

How do you go about removing snow from your roof?

If you think it’s time to remove the snow from your roof, you must decide whether to do it yourself or hire a professional. You must make sure you always consider safety, as many homeowners are injured every year from trying to remove the snow from their roof.

5 Do and Don’ts when it comes to snow removal

  1. DO start at the edge, working your way toward the middle.
  2. DO be careful with metal tools. They conduct electricity, which makes for a dangerous situation near power lines. They can also damage your roof.
  3. DO use tools that are made of plastic, such as a snow rake.
  4. DO keep emergency exits, downspouts, and vents free of snow build up.
  5. DO contact a snow removal company to safely remove the snow from your roof.

5 Don’t when it comes to snow removal

  1. If you have any doubts about your ability to remove snow or ice, DON’T attempt it yourself, especially if you are dealing with ice, as the weight of it can make for a dangerous situation.
  2. DON’T attempt to remove snow with sharp tools, they can harm your roof—and you!—and aren’t very efficient anyway.
  3. DON’T use open-flame devices, hair dryers, or heat guns to melt the snow. This creates even more ice, which adds more weight to your roof.
  4. DON’T use ladders, safety ropes, and other removal equipment that is not specifically designed for snow removal.
  5. If you must remove it yourself, DON’T add weight to your roof or stockpile snow until your roof has been evaluated by a professional.

Why should you hire a professional?

Unless you have the proper professional grade equipment and are trained in snow removal procedures, the safest and most efficient way to remove snow from your roof is to call a professional, like company name here.  We have XX years of experience and can remove the snow and ice from your roof so you can enjoy winter without the worries of damage or injury. Let our professionally trained crew handle your snow and ice this winter! Our customer service is top-notch, and we will work with you to ensure your satisfaction.