Winter Roof Maintenance: How to Safely Remove Snow from Your Rochester Roof

Jan 13, 2023Blog, Rochester, Roof Maintenance, Roof Problems

Savvy homeowners take the necessary steps to keep their roofs clean throughout the winter months. While it’s falling, snow may look pretty and delicate, but it can be just as destructive as high winds or flood waters. Allowing snow to accumulate on your Rochester roof can expose both your property and your family to a significant danger.

Clearing Snow From the Roof Is Important

Did you know? Freshly fallen snow can weigh as much as five pounds per square foot. An accumulation of two feet of fresh snow along with two feet of packed snow underneath can weigh up to 60 pounds per square foot.

ice dam Rochester, NY

Your roof was never designed to handle the excess weight of significant accumulation, so clearing snow and ice is important. Moreover, accumulated snow can lead to ice dams that could eventually pull down your gutters. Melted snow can even make its way underneath shingles to damage the underlying structure and foundation.

Know When It’s Time to Remove Snow

To know how best to protect your roof, you’ll need to learn to recognize when it’s time to remove the snow. It starts with a simple observation. When it appears your roof has more than a few inches of snow accumulation, you need to begin considering roof snow removal.

Find a way to safely access your roof, then cut away a single square-foot section of snow and ice. Make sure your sample goes all the way down to the shingles. Put the sample in a garbage bag and weigh it. If it weighs 25 pounds or more, your roof is already in the danger zone. If it weighs upwards of 60 pounds, clearing your roof is an immediate priority.

Roof Snow Removal Warning Signs

There are signs you can look for that suggest the snow load on your roof is too high:

  • Water spots on your ceilings
  • Cracks in your drywall
  • Sticking or jamming doors

If you notice any of these signs in conjunction with heavy snow accumulation on your roof, it may be time to remove the snow.

The Proper Way to Remove Snow From the Roof

The proper way to remove snow from the roof depends on the style of your roof. For pitched roofs, use a plastic snow rake specifically designed for the job. On a flat roof, use a plastic snow shovel to throw the snow clear away from the roof.

snow in the gutter, ice dams

Salt-free deicing chemicals and electrical deicing cables are other options for roof snow removal. Both can remove snow and ice without the same risk of damage presented by snow rakes and shovels. Whatever you do, never attempt to clean your roof with a heat gun, open flame, or any heavy equipment that could damage shingles or tiles.

Roof Snow Removal Tips

  • Never attempt to clear your roof from snow alone. Enlist the assistance of at least one family member or friend capable of acting as an extra set of eyes and a safety monitor.
  • If you can access your roof without a ladder – with a long pole, for instance – do so. Otherwise, be very careful about snow and ice buildup on ladder rungs.
  • When clearing the roof, be sure to not allow snow and ice to accumulate in the gutters.
  • Never throw ice chunks off the roof without knowing what is below.

Professional Roof Snow Removal Services

The best way to clear your roof is to hire a professional snow removal service. Professional services have the right tools and equipment to do the job safely. They also know how to effectively clear a roof of snow and ice without damaging shingles, vents, or the roof structure itself. Be sure that the roofing service you choose is experienced and insured. Don’t be afraid to ask for references either. The more you can do to protect yourself, the better off you will be.

Snow accumulation on your roof is nothing to play around with. If your roof has more than an inch or two of accumulation, you should seriously consider clearing it. Don’t wait until your roof is in danger of collapse to do something about it. Call Carter Roofing & Exteriors today to lift this weight off your roof and your shoulders.

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