The formation of ice dams cannot happen without snow. If you successfully prevent ice dams, then you might most likely prevent roof leaking as well as damages to the interior of your house.
Another significance of roof snow removal is that it is necessary to free your roof from excess weight. Take, for instance, there’s a snow of 12 inches is on your roof; this could mean stress worth thousands of pounds on your roof. This even excludes the weight of ice dams that could form due to the snow being left on your roof. Normally, the ice of one cubic foot weighs about 57 pounds, while an ice dam could weigh thousands of pounds. Reducing the stress on your roof is one of the best ways of reducing cave-ins and leaking.
How to get Snow off Roof?
Sometimes, you can get the snow off your roof by shoveling and in some cases, roof-raking. This depends on three major factors
- The largeness of your roof and the height of your house
- The amount of snow received by your roof
- The texture of your roof, whether it is light and powdery or wet and heavy
Roof-raking is the best generally as a continuous, winter-long task that property owners can easily perform as a way of keeping snow from your roof. If your home is one-story, then a roof rake will work perfectly in getting rid of all the snow on your roof by raking snow off routinely. If your home is much taller, then roof-raking is the best choice to get rid of the overhangs. This will go a long way in relieving the excess weight on your roof’s weakest parts (the overhangs) and help in the prevention of ice dams.
True, there are some limitations with roof raking. Unless, where you reside is a one-story home, it is usually difficult to rake areas that are high above the overhangs, even if you decide to purchase extension rods to use with your rake. Also, it is difficult clearing snow from roof valleys using a roof rake because rakes are flat and they have an angular surface. Asides this, roof raking, most times, doesn’t work well for removing hardened, heavy, or wet snow off your roof.
Shoveling, as another roof snow removal tool that picks up the job where roof-raking stops. Below we will be talking about when your roof might probably need some shoveling.
When to shovel snow off the roof?
Your roof needs to be shoveled when:
- Too much snow is dropped by a storm which is too much for a rake to handle
- The snow is too hardened or heavy to be removed with your rake
- Your roof is too tall or large for easy raking
Shoveling is the best way to remove snow from the roof, because when there’s a need for heavy lifting or when there’s a need to clear off your roof completely, to help reduce the possibility of ice dams and cave-ins forming.
Are there other alternatives to remove roof snow?
From what we know, it’s a No. The most common alternative to removing roof snow is the heat cables. Those having too much money can decide to use heat cables to help prevent snow from accumulating on their roofs (mostly in the valleys and the overhangs).
The issue here is that even with a range of hot cables, it isn’t still enough to reduce the effects of nature during the winter period; it can only melt little grooves present in the snow probably after a big snowstorm. Just a very few people recorded long-term successes while using heat cables; you should see yourself as part of the lucky few if you’re in this category.
Heat cables are also very expensive to run Because heat cables are specialized products, the costs of installation alone much. Asides this, heart cables function using a dead-short circuit (which means negative and positive wires are constantly in contact with each other. Due to this, lots of electricity is consumed by the cables, and they fail frequently by shorting out.
If you’re rich and can go for heat cables, it will be more of a gamble that they’ll probably keep snow off your roof enough to prevent leaking and ice dams. Countless ice dams have been removed from heat cables after getting entangled with them. These heat cables were either working fine or were broken but not meant to prevent ice dams as well as prevent the piling up of snow.
When to remove snow from your roof
It is advisable to clear your roof after every snowfall of 6 inches. If you prevent the piling up of too much snow on your roof, then it will be much difficult for ice dams to form, and then you can stop getting worried about the cave-in of roofs.
Of course, it depends on the case: There are cases where ice dams formed even with just a dust of snow on a roof, while there are other cases where there were no ice dams even after mountains of snow fell on roofs.
Speaking generally, even though all roofs are different, you’ll want to try this idea of clearing your roof after every snowfall of 6 inches, most especially if you’ve encountered issues with ice dams before now.
Also, if you’ve never had issues with ice dams but you simply concerned about preventing a roof collapse, then it is advisable to hold off on any removal of snow from your roof until a foot or more of snow has accumulated.
Best time to Remove snow off Roof
Another thing to consider in knowing the best time to remove snow from your roof is the snow’s weight. Heavy and snow weight could weigh about six or more times that of dry and lighter snow. Snow of one cubic foot can weight about 0.26 lbs (dry, light snow) to about 1.66 lbs (wet, heavy snow).
If you step outside and then pick up snow, it seems wet and heavy, and this is one of the factors that will tell you to clear our roof earlier than later. The frequency at which your roof is cleared partly depends on the weather.
If snow of 6 inches falls on your roof, but the daytime and nighttime low temperatures are forecasted to stay higher than freezing for some days, then there’s no need to remove the snow, because it will most likely melt very soon, or decrease in weight and never transform into an ice dam.
However, if in one night, snow of 6 inches falls and then another snowfall of 6 inches is forecasted to drop later that week, or maybe the low temperatures stay low below freezing, then you should get rid of the snow as soon as possible. Another smart move is to call on a roof snow removal service and then schedule the removal of your roof snow in advance.
Things to know if you want your roof raked or shoveled
There are various things to keep in mind while roof raking or shoveling
The first part of a successful roof raking is using the right type of roof rake. It should come with bumpers or rollers on the blade’s bottom, so it doesn’t have direct contact with your roof’s surface.
Also go for one having a slightly curved handle, close to the rake’s head. With this feature, you’ll get the best angle, making effective and deep cuts into the snow
Extension poles are also a great idea. This will help you rake areas that are very high on your roof. And in case the initial pole gets bent or damaged, which will most likely happen, you can easily replace it.
When using the rake, you should, first of all, clear the overhangs and then proceed to the top. This is the most efficient and easiest technique.
While raking, avoid hitting any of the overhead power lines. These power lines are usually found in older homes and a few new homes. Hitting these power lines could lead to death.
First of all, doing this yourself is not a great idea. You might end up injuring or killing yourself while climbing your slippery roof. However, if you’re still determined to handle this task yourself, there are some things to do to ensure safety and effectiveness:
- Don’t make use of a metal-edged shovel, rather use a plastic one.
- Pathways should not be left in the snow
- The shoveling of your roof shouldn’t be done too frequently
- The snow shouldn’t be dumped onto your gas meter
Snow on the roof could be disturbing as they could be so heavy on your hoof, which could either cause leakages or accumulation into ice dams. However, with roof-raking or shoveling, you have nothing to worry about. As a rule of thumb, it is advisable to clear your roof after every snowfall of 6 inches. It is also a great idea to pay attention to weather forecasts to help you determine when to remove snow from your roof.