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Ever wonder about how to remove snow from a roof? In recent posts, we talked about snow loading and the potential damage that it can have on your roof. So, when the snow starts building up, what’s the best game plan for clearing snow from your roof? What are your snow removal options?
The best way to remove snow from your roof starts with planning. Your pre-game strategy must, above all, take into consideration safety. Dozens of people are injured, and even killed, each year shoveling snow from their roofs each year. Hundreds more experience heart attacks, and other forms of bodily injury, due to the strenuous level of activity.
It’s important to be aware of current conditions. Is it icy? Are temperatures extreme? Finally, it’s very important to be cognizant of the immediate environment—especially the presence of overhead utility lines. If electric power lines are in close proximity to your roof, extra precautions are necessary to avoid electrocution. Your best move may be to call in a professional snow removal service.
The next step in your game prep involves choosing the right snow removal tools. Snow rakes are one of the most efficient ways to remove snow from your roof. They’re also the most economical solution to minimize the impact of snow loading and ice dams.
Older snow rakes involved “pulling” snow off the roof which required a lot of physical effort. Premium snow rakes, like SnowPeeler, use cutting frames that “slice” through snowpack. Snow flows down an attached vinyl slide—gravity does the work, so you don’t have to. To optimize the weight of the rake and its reach, you’ll also want to choose a snow rake with quick-add pole extensions, so you can easily reach the upper sections of your roof.
There are many signs that indicate that it is time to remove snow from your roof. The weight of snow on your roof is not just a factor of depth, but of density—whether it’s fresh snow or packed. As a general rule of thumb, when you have an accumulation of 12 inches or more, it’s “game on”.
Starting clearing snow from the roof when it hits a foot or more not only ensures that your roof won’t be stressed, it will also be easier on your body. Deep accumulations, especially of packed snow, can be strenuous to remove even with the best of tools.
The first step in the playbook is to clear a perimeter around your house. This will make for more stable footing when using your snow rake. You can do this by simply trampling down the snow by walking, using snowshoes or a snow blower.
Next, you’ll want to make sure your snow rake is assembled, and the pole extensions are nearby. When using modern snow rakes with attached slides, like SnowPeeler, you’ll want to position the cutting frame near the lower edge of the roof close to the gutter. Ensure the vinyl slide is hanging over the edge of the roof and push upward. You’ll start by adding enough pole extensions to reach the first 6 – 10 feet of your roof.
As you go further up the roof, you’ll add additional extensions. As the snow starts falling from your roof, you’ll want to avoid being covered with snow. You can do this by moving the handle of your snow rake in a lateral movement. And remember, not all of the snow needs to be removed. A thin layer of snow will actually protect your roof during the clearing process, and make the snow removal process easier in general.
Clearing snow from the roof: Win season after season
For those who live in heavy snow areas, clearing snow from your roof is a game that you have to play. Given the right tools, the right methods and a constant focus on safety, you and your roof will be assured another winning season!
For additional information on how to remove snow from your roofl, check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).