How to Remove Snow from your Roof

Winter can bring many challenges. The biggest challenge is snow. Snow builds up in your driveway, on roads, and on your roof. Snow build up in any of these places can create problems and even put you and your property in danger. Removing snow from a roof can also be dangerous. That’s why it’s crucial to know how to remove snow from your roof. 

Why You Should Remove Snow from your Roof

When too much snow builds up on your roof it can create ice dams. If you’ve ever driven by a house and seen a row of icicles hanging down and ice all above it, you’ve seen an ice dam. And while cool to look at, ice dams prevent the melted snow from draining off your roof. Ice dams can also form in other valleys of your roof like vents which can also cause problems. 

When the melted snow and ice can’t drain and has nowhere to go, the water can seep under the shingles. This can cause the water to leak into your home. Once water is leaking into your home you have to worry about water damage. Sometimes the melted water can refreeze and cause more problems. 

In addition to preventing ice dams from forming, snow build up on your roof in general can cause problems. You never want to have too much weight on your roof. If too much snow builds up, it can cause structural damage to your roof. 

When to Remove Snow from your Roof

As previously mentioned, you never want too much snow to build up. 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 can 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 snow storm, 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. 

Safe Methods for Quickly Removing Snow from your Roof 

The safest method for removing snow from your roof is to hire a licensed professional. Hiring a professional for roof snow removal will cost you somewhere between $200-$500. It can seem a bit steep but it is well worth it to get the snow off your roof without putting yourself in danger. It is possible to remove snow from your roof while staying on the ground and there are helpful tools for that.

Roof Snow Removal from the Ground

The safest way to remove snow from your roof yourself is from the ground. There are various long rakes that you can buy. Then it’s just a matter of raking the fresh snow off your roof. This will generally cost you around $50-$100 to buy the tool. Raking from the ground really only works if you have a pretty low to the ground roof. 

Roof Snow Removal with a Rake

Raking with a roof is more of an ongoing task. Even if your roof is taller, you can usually rake the snow from the overhangs from the ground still. Raking from the ground and getting whatever snow you can reach is a good way to get excess snow away. This way it never has a chance to build up. However, raking isn’t as effective at getting the wet, heavy snow from your roof. A roof rake should have small bumpers on the bottom of the rake, as to not harm your roof. A curved rake is also very helpful in getting as much snow as possible off your roof. When roofing your rake, start with the overhangs and just try to rake off anything you can reach. Be careful to avoid hitting any power lines or anything you wouldn’t want to rake. 

Roof Snow Removal with a Shovel

When there’s heavy snow on your roof, shoveling is much more effective than raking. If you need your roof shoveled, it’s best to call in a professional. They should be using a shovel with a plastic edge, not metal, again as to not scrape your roof or cause any damage to it. It’s also important to not shovel your roof too much as it causes wear and tear on your shingles. A common mistake professionals will make is leaving a trail of snow footprints on your roof. It’s important these get cleared up. They can become ice and even ice dams if you don’t remove them. 

How to remove snow from your roof can seem tricky. The most important thing to remember is safety. Hiring a professional is your best bet to avoid any danger. It is still smart to rake from the ground before any snow removal company comes. It can save you money and prevent the need for them for a little longer.  If you neglected your roof and ice dams have already formed, get a professional out right away. You want to avoid damage to your roof and house at all costs. 

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Al Gossen
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AG Excavating, Inc
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