Safety Tips for Roof Snow Removal

Safety Tips for Roof Snow Removal

On average, Southern New England gets 35 inches of snow every winter, creating a serious need for roof snow removal. Allowing that snow to pile up on your roof could be dangerous for your family and your home.

A common rule of thumb says that a square foot of light, fluffy snow weighs seven pounds per square inch. Wet snow can weigh up to 15 pounds per square inch. If a foot of wet snow comes down, that’s 144 pounds of pressure on every square foot of your roof.

High amounts of pressure like that can cause structural damage to your roof, and any snow accumulation poses the threat of ice dams.

So how can you safely remove snow from your roof? Let’s get into it.

snow on roofKnowing When to Remove Snow

Before you can start removing snow, you need to know when roof snow removal is necessary. Let’s take a look at the signs.

Your Home is Prone to Ice Dams

Ice dams can cause water to back up on your roof and leak into your home, causing a lot of damage. Ice dams need snow to form, so if there’s less snow on your roof, they won’t form as easily.

Professionals recommend removing snow after every six inches of snow fall to prevent ice dams.

Your Roof is Under Stress

FEMA offers some snow load safety guidelines to help you know when your roof is under structural stress. If you’re hearing any creaking or popping, that’s a major sign.

You Want to Prevent Structural Stress

If you’re looking to prevent stress on your roof’s structure, professionals say you can let about a foot of snow accumulate before removal. If the snow feels especially dense or wet, remove it earlier.

Knowing Your Roof Strength

If you’re unsure how much weight your roof can hold, check with your local building department. They know the structural requirements from the time your home was built.

Roof raking

Roof Raking for Basic Maintenance

Roof raking is a great way to prevent too much snow from building up on your roof. When done safely, it’s the best way to minimize your need for professional help.

First, you should get a roof rake that either has bumpers or rollers at the bottom or has a blade made of plastic. This prevents the rake from severely damaging your shingles.

Buy a few extension rods so you can reach high places on your roof. You might even want an extra or two on hand in case one bends or dents.

When raking, stay a distance away from the building so the falling snow doesn’t hit you. Start from the overhangs and work your way towards the top of the roof. Never try to stand on a ladder, as ice builds up on them fast.

Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

Being aware of your surroundings is vital during roof snow removal. Make sure no people are in an area where the falling snow will hit them.

Be careful to keep building exits, fire escapes, downspouts, gutters, ventilation openings, and any equipment free from snow. Before you start, check the area where the snow will fall for any equipment falling snow could damage.

Have someone with you while you rake to keep an extra eye out.

Roof Snow Removal Professionals

If there is a lot of snow or the snow is hard, wet, or heavy, roof raking might not work. In this case, you should call a professional snow removal company to shovel the snow off your roof.

Never try to shovel snow from your own roof. It is extremely dangerous and can result in severe injury or death.

Replace a Damaged Roof

Your shingles are your roof’s first line of defense against damage. However, in situations such a heavy snow, they’re the first to sustain damage.

While plastic rakes and shovels prevent a lot of damage to your shingles, they do still shave off some of the protective granules. This wears down your roof and leaves it more susceptible to further damage.

After a few hard winters, you may want to replace the shingles on your roof for the best protection.

Safety is Priority Number One

No matter how much snow is on your roof, make sure to stay safe. If you’re apprehensive to remove it yourself, hire professionals instead.

If you properly remove the snow from your roof, your home will stay safe and strong through the season.

But if roof snow removal leaves your shingles damaged, contact us. We’re here to help you with a roof replacement to keep your home protected.


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