When multiple and large snowfalls accumulate, building owners often begin to think about the dangers of excessive snow on their roofs. After all, we have all heard of buildings collapsing in winter due to the weight of snow on roofs. When the likelihood of roof collapse looms, it’s a good idea to find the correct tools and follow proper methods to safely remove snow from your roof.
Although it may look pretty, excessive snow on your roof can be dangerous. Two feet of snow on an average roof can add up to 38,000 pounds of weight, heavy by any standard. Even if your roof can handle this additional weight, the pounds will still stress it and possibly contribute to future problems.
Excessive snow on a roof can also produce additional problems, particularly when melt occurs. Water seepage has the potential to produce rot, flood attics and destroy other household structures, necessitating repairs. Thus, it is in your best interests to remove large amounts of snow whenever possible.
Keep in mind, however, that it is dangerous to simply jump on top of a roof to remove snow. In addition to the elevation and pitch, snowy roofs can also be icy, meaning a wrong step can send you sliding haphazardly down to the ground.
Sagging is the most most obvious sign that a roof collapse is imminent. Creaking, crack and popping sounds also indicate that a roof is in trouble. Interior signs include severe leaks, cracks in walls or doors and windows difficult to open are also warning signs.
The best way to remove snow from a roof is with a snow rake that has an an extended handle, allowing you to pull off snow from the safety of the ground. Start from the edge and work your way into the center by using downward strokes. Scrape snow from along the bottom of the roof and take at least two to three inches off. Avoid using ladders. Instead, buy extension poles or a longer rake to reach higher areas of the roof. Removing snow from roofs also helps avoid ice damage that can occur after snow melts and refreezes.
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