Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, or you’re used to living in warmer climates during the winter months, snow removal may not be at the top of your mind. In fact, you might not even realize that this falling fluff often causes thousands of dollars of repair.
When Does Snow on Your Roof Become Dangerous?
There are two main concerns:
- Roof collapse
- Ice dams
A roof collapse is a bigger concern for flat roofs, as snow can accumulate more easily. Still, even with sloped roofs, you should watch out for the accumulation of snow, particularly if you live in a home that can’t withstand too much weight, such as an older home or one built in a geographical area, where snowfall is increasing.
Ice dams occur when there is a buildup of ice along the edge of your roof. As snow on the roof melts, it trickles to the edge of the roof, where it can freeze and, as we noted back in September, can wreak havoc on your roof, gutters, interior drywall and more.
When Should I Use a Roof Rake?
To avoid these issues, walk around your house after each snowfall to assess where the snow has accumulated. Remember to check areas that you don’t see on an everyday basis! The snow should not be piled up, and melted snow should flow freely through gutters.
When there is excess snow, use a roof rake to clear it off, but be sure you can do it safely.
Here are some tips:
- Use a roof rake when total snowfall has accumulated to 6” or more. This is frequent enough to help prevent issues, but infrequent enough that it’s easier on your body.
- Avoid using a shovel, which can ruin your shingles. This is why many companies, including Weathersafe, use steamers for gentle ice dam removal.
- Keep your feet planted firmly on the ground, and reach as high as you can with the roof rake. That’s the only area you should clear off.
- Do not use a ladder, and do not go on the roof! Leave that to the professionals!
A roof rake should be sufficient enough to avoid any ice dams or excessive snow accumulation, but be sure to keep an eye out for issues all winter.
Safe Snow and Ice Dam Removal
Once you see ice on your overhangs, you have the beginning of an ice dam. And that means it’s time to call in the professionals.
Trying to remove an ice dam yourself is dangerous and could wreck your shingles, and a roof rake won’t help; snow will continue melting, trickling down, and freezing on the existing ice, making the ice dam even bigger.