How to Safely Remove Snow from a Roof

It’s that time of the year again in Michiana. The time of blizzards and winter storm warnings and constantly checking the local weather forecasts. But, we’re used to it, right?

But do you ever stop and think about all of that snow accumulating on your roof? If you have a flat roof or only a slight pitch, the worry has probably crossed your mind.

Removing snow from your roof can help prevent structural damage and ice dams. Whether you decide to hire a professional or tackle the project yourself, safety is crucial. Here are some things to look for before you attempt to remove the snow:

  • What kind of roof do you have? Flat roofs and shallow pitches have a greater risk for structural damages and roof collapse. Why? Because the snow sits in the same spot and keeps accumulating. With flat roofs, even when the snow melts, the water stays put and could freeze.
  • Is the snow wet and heavy? Snow density plays a bigger role than you might think. Wet and heavy snow weighs significantly more than snowfall that is light, fluffy, or powdery.
  • Are there snow drifts and uneven distribution of snow on your roof? Snow rarely sits evenly on your roof. Many times, winds will push the snow into certain areas. For instance, areas where the pitch meets an exterior wall or valley where two slopes meet.

Pro Tip: An easy way to check for excess weight and stress on your roof is to open your windows and doors. Go through your home and test each one. Are they suddenly difficult to open or close? That may be a clear warning sign of snow putting a strain on your roof structure.

If you are choosing to do this yourself, please take the time to understand how to safely remove snow from your roof. There are many cases of homeowners getting injured by climbing up on their snow-covered roofs every year.
Here’s a quick list of “do’s and don’ts” to make your decision easier and safer.

5 QUICK DO’S OF ROOF SNOW REMOVAL

  1. Start from the edge of your roof when you are attempting to remove snow yourself and work your way onto the roof from there.
  2. Keep in mind that metal tools used during the removal process may cause more damage to your roof.
  3. Use plastic roof snow removal tools, such as a snow rake for pitched roofs.
  4. Try to keep a buildup of snow away from fire escapes, emergency building exits, drain downspouts, and ventilation openings.
  5. Contact a roofing professional like Clayton Hoover to safely remove the buildup of snow if you are worried about the safety of your home or your roof.

5 QUICK DON’TS OF ROOF SNOW REMOVAL

  1. Don’t attempt to remove heavy layers of snow or ice yourself if you are not fully confident. Removing snow from your roof can be dangerous, particularly if the snow has hardened into ice.
  2. Don’t use sharp tools in attempts to remove snow from your rooftop. 
  3. Don’t attempt to melt the snow/ice on your roof yourself through the use of open-flame devices or electronic devices such as hair-dryers or heat guns. This will only create more ice and add more weight to your roof.
  4. Make sure your ladder is stable and secure. 
  5. Don’t add your own weight to the rooftop. Put as little pressure on your roof as possible when completing this semi-dangerous task.

If you’re not a die-hard DIY homeowner or you’re not fully equipped to safely remove snow from your roof, it’s best to call a professional service like Clayton Hoover & Sons. Not only can we help the situation at hand- come springtime we can install a new roofing system that will keep your family safe and protected from the snow.

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