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How to Remove Snow from Roof

How to Remove Snow from Roof

Justin Rollin

When winter arrives, snow and ice accumulation on roofs can lead to serious risks and potential damage. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of safely removing snow from your roof and the potential risks associated with snow build-up, such as structural damage or an ice dam.

As a leading de-icer supplier, our team at Ninja De-Icer is giving you expert guidance on effectively managing snow on your property's roof. Learn essential tips, best practices, and the high-quality de-icer products from Ninja De-Icer you should be using to ensure the safety and integrity of your roof during the winter season.

1. Consider De-Icing Products

One effective approach to removing snow from the roof is the use of de-icing products.

Types of De-Icing Products Relevant to Roof Snow Removal

Types of De-Icing Products Relevant to Roof Snow Removal
  • Magnesium chloride: Magnesium chloride is an effective de-icing product for roof snow removal. Its rapid melting power helps eliminate ice and snow build-up on roofs efficiently. Magnesium chloride is also less corrosive than other de-icing products, making it a suitable choice to prevent any potential damage. To determine the amount needed, it is recommended to apply one pound of magnesium chloride per square foot of roof to get all the snow.
  • Liquid de-icer: Liquid de-icer is another effective option for roof snow removal. When applied, it quickly melts snow and ice on the roof's surface. Liquid de-icers can be sprayed or applied directly onto the roof so the snow melts. They not only help break down existing ice and snow but also prevent further accumulation. Moreover, you can enhance your salt brine by adding Headwaters HOT liquid additive formulated to reduce corrosion, making the de-icer more safe and efficient for roof snow removal;
  • Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA): Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) is a popular de-icing product for roof snow removal. It is an environmentally friendly option that is less damaging to concrete, vegetation, and metal surfaces compared to traditional de-icers. CMA works by preventing ice and snow from bonding to roof surfaces, making it easier to remove. It is a low-corrosion alternative and has a lower toxicity level, making it a safe choice for both roofs and the environment when it runs off.

How to Apply De-Icing Products Without a Ladder

When it comes to applying de-icing products to your business' roof without a ladder, there are several tools and techniques you can use to ensure even distribution and effectiveness. Tools such as roof rakes with de-icer dispensers or telescoping handles can help you apply de-icers from the ground. When applying, it's important to ensure even coverage across the roof's surface to prevent uneven melting. Additionally, take precautions to avoid contact with certain materials that may be sensitive to de-icers. By following these techniques and taking proper precautions, you can safely and effectively apply de-icing products without the need for a ladder, keeping your roof clear of snow and ice.

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Get Ahead of Winter Challenges - Buy De-Icers Today!

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2. Get Snow-Free Roofs with Heating Cables

If you prefer to plan ahead for rooftop snow removal, using a heating cable can be an effective way to remove snow and prevent ice dams from forming on your roof. Various heating cables, which can be easily purchased at hardware stores or online, are installed across your roof during milder weather. When turned on, the cable emits enough heat to melt the snow and prevent ice buildup.

3. Remove Snow from the Roof with Rope or Wire

3. Remove Snow from the Roof with Rope or Wire

During winter, accumulated snow on your roof can become extremely heavy and cause structural damage. Safely remove this snow load by installing nylon ropes or tensioned wires along the roof. Workers can then pull on the ropes or wires from the ground to disrupt the snowpack and allow it to slide off the roof in a controlled manner. This method helps proactively alleviate the load before it becomes a hazard, as wet snow weighs quite a bit.

4. Use a Roof Rake Tool

A snow roof rake is a simple yet effective tool for clearing snow from your roof. It has a long telescoping handle and a rubber squeegee blade that allows you to easily reach and remove snow from high areas. Some snow rakes on the market are as long as 21 feet!

To use it, plunge the rake into the upper area of the snow, aiming for the solid roof. Then, slowly pull the rake backward, and you'll see the snow start to slide down before reaching the gutter. As with any snow removal method, make sure there's no one below the falling snow. While this method requires more effort, it offers a deliberate approach to removing wet snow from your roof.

5. Invest in a Roof Snow Removal Robot

Removing heavy snow loads by hand can be time-consuming and dangerous for workers, and if your business or building has a large roof, it's even worse. Consider investing in an automated roof snow removal robot designed specifically for roofs. These motorized robots use rubber track wheels to traverse your roof surface and break up or scrape off snow and ice with a forward-rotating brush. They can cover large areas efficiently and eliminate the need to have staff manually shovel off the roof, enhancing safety during snow events.

When to Remove Snow from Your Roof

When to Remove Snow from Your Roof

As previously mentioned, you never want too much snow to build up on your roof. It’s generally smart to clear your roof after about 6 inches of snowfall. This way, ice dams don’t have time to form and you won’t have to worry about too much weight ever building up. Sometimes ice dams form with a lot less than 6 inches of snow or you can have a big build-up of snow with no ice dams. It really just depends on your roof. If you’re not worried about ice dams but rather just a heavy amount of snow on your roof, you can hold off for a while. You should remove snow from the roof after about a foot of snow has built up, no matter what.

When you remove snow from your roof also depends on the type of snow that’s falling. If you walk outside and feel wet, heavy snow, it might be best to remove it sooner rather than later. However, fluffy dry snow has a little more wiggle room to build up. Another factor is the weather. Obviously, if you’re in the middle of a bad snowstorm, you don’t want to go up on your roof. On the other end of that, if snow falls and then it’s sunshine all the next day, the snow will most likely melt right off. If you’ve waited a while to remove snow and start to notice your doors sticking, that’s an indication of too much weight. You need to get your snow removed from your roof ASAP.

Safety Tips for Roof Snow Removal

Safety Tips for Roof Snow Removal

Clearing heavy snow off a roof can be hazardous if proper precautions are not taken.

Follow these safety tips when removing snow from your roof:

  • Enlist a helping hand: When it comes to shoveling snow off your flat or sloped roof, it's always a good idea to find an assistant to help with the task. Having a second person can provide extra support and ensure safety during the snow removal process;
  • Dress for roof snow removal: Roof snow removal requires the right gear and layers to face the snowy conditions. Wear warm, layered clothing to protect against cold temperatures, and choose waterproof and insulated footwear for traction and to keep your feet dry;
  • Observe weather forecast: It's crucial to keep a close eye on the weather conditions as snow falls. We all know by now that winter weather can be unpredictable, and you'll need to stay aware of any changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind;
  • Remove obstacles in the way: Clear the roof of any debris, branches, or other objects that could make shoveling snow more difficult or pose a safety hazard. Pay particular attention to the removal of ice build up, as this can create obstacles and make the task more challenging;
  • Avoid sharp tools: Another tip for when you're removing snow from roofs is to exercise caution and avoid using sharp tools. Metal roofs are delicate and can easily be damaged by the wrong tools or excessive force. Instead of using metal shovels, opt for a sturdy and wide snow rake with a rubber edge or a plastic shovel designed for roofing;
  • Do not apply road salt and harsh chemicals: Avoid applying rock salt or harsh chemicals when removing snow from your facility roof. These substances can promote corrosion and deterioration of the roof structure and materials over time;
  • Stay away from electric heating tools: It's crucial to avoid using electric heating tools, such as heat guns, to clear snow from your roof. Not only is this method ineffective for removing large amounts of snow, but it's also extremely dangerous.

Final Thoughts

Safely removing heavy snow accumulation from your roof this winter doesn't have to be a difficult or dangerous task. By following these tips and using the right snow removal tools and de-icers, you can protect your roof from damage and keep your building operational. For all your de-icing product needs, choose Ninja De-Icer, a top supplier trusted by facilities across the country for environmentally responsible and effective ice melt solutions customized for your commercial property. Request a quote from Ninja De-Icer today and order quality products that will get the job done right.