Winter is in full swing. As usual, you can expect a weather cocktail of snow, ice pellets, freezing rain and possibly a downpour. Although most roofs in northern climates are designed to withstand the heaviest of snowfalls, it’s essential that you routinely remove snow from your roof to prevent ice dams, water infiltration, and even roof collapse.
When should you remove snow from your roof?
Here are some telltale signs that it’s time to start clearing your roof!
You Have a Low-Pitch Roof
While all roofs need to be cleared of snow throughout the winter, shallow-pitch and flat roofs are particularly susceptible to accumulations and drifting. If you have one of these roof designs, it’s a good idea to remove snow a little more often than “steeper” sloped roofs.
After A Heavy Snowfall
Whether you’ve just experienced a winter storm that dumped a massive amount of snow or endured a few days of steady snowfall, it’s a wise move to check the amount of snow on your roof. As a rule of thumb, you should clear your roof after 6 inches of snowfall. The reason? Fresh snow – snow that has just fallen – is the easiest snow to remove from your roof. A quick win!
When you observe a massive snow load on your roof
Not all snow is created equally. The weight of snow is a factor of both the depth of snow and its water content. Six inches of “wet” snow can weigh as much as 40 inches of “dry” snow. Most roofs can withstand 20 pounds per square foot of snow. However, check local building codes to verify the amount for your specific area. Remember that old snow and new snow can combine to greatly exceed snow load capacity. And don’t forget to consider ice – an inch of ice is equal to a foot of fresh snow. To determine the impact of snow on your roof, use this snow load calculator.
When Your Home Begins to Make Weird Sounds
Trust your home; it will start sending out “calls for help,” such as cracking, creaking, popping or other unusual noises. This is a sure-fire sign that the snow on your roof is too heavy.
When You Notice Ice Dams
Ice dams are formed when snow and ice melt and then refreeze around the edge of your roof. These icy blockages can even back up into your shingles and cause water leakage into your ceiling, walls, and insulation. In worst-case scenarios, ice dams can also trigger a roof collapse.
When You Notice Damage Inside Your Home
Do you see water spots or warps on your ceiling? Have you noticed cracks in your drywall? Do your doors rub against their frames or is there a gap when closing them? If so, you may not be adequately handling snow buildup on your roof. Act fast to get the snow off your roof and call a professional contractor to assess if repairs are required.
Once you have determined that you need to clear snow from your roof, the next question is: should you shovel your roof? The answer is Definitely NO! Climbing on your roof and shoveling snow is dangerous. You can easily slip, fall and seriously injure yourself.
You may be a master Jedi at shoveling your driveway but removing snow from your roof takes special equipment and training. Most experts agree that a roof rake, like the SnowPeeler, is your best—and safest—alternative to shoveling snow off your roof. Roof rakes are so easy to use, you’ll look forward to the work! Get our tips on how to adequately clear snow from your roof here.