How to Safely Remove Snow from Your Roof

Most people may not realize the danger that snow pile up can have on your roof and in your home. A snow day can be fun, but it doesn’t take long for the reality of the situation to set in. Large amounts of accumulated snow can cause ice dams and serious structural problems. However, even if you think you need to remove snow from your roof, it may not always be necessary. Since our first official snowstorm has come and gone, we wanted to give you some tips on how you can safely remove snow from your roof.

1. Know when rooftop snow removal is necessary

Before planning to remove snow from your roof, it is a good idea to first determine whether you need to do anything at all. Keep in mind that it is unlikely that an average – or even a little above average – snowfall will cause your roof to collapse. We understand that seeing a substantial accumulation of snow on your roof can be worrisome, but the weight of snow matters more than the depth. Dry, powdery snow weighs far less than heavy, wet snow. A good way to know what type of snow is falling is to watch your local forecast to get details about expected snowfall amounts and what kind of snow you might encounter.

2. Use the right snow removal tool

We would recommend and most experts would recommend removing snow with a roof rake, only resorting to a shovel in cases of large amounts of heavy, wet snow or snow that has hardened onto the roof. Snow rakes are a great tool because they allow you to clear snow from your home’s roof without climbing a ladder. This process works especially well if your home is one story, but most rakes will still have the option to add an extension pole to help you reach the overhangs of a two-story roof. However, if you notice your area has had a quick accumulation of wet snow in a short time, a roof rake may not be sufficient. In these cases, contacting a professional to shovel your roof will likely be the best option.

3. Use the proper technique

Your roof is designed to endure plenty of severe weather, but that does not mean it is completely resistant to damage. Using the wrong tool or right tool incorrectly can damage shingles, opening up your roof to a multitude of other problems. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that the roof rake you choose has small wheels or a bumper to keep it from scraping the shingles. If you are having a hard time finding one, choose a plastic rake or shovel – it will be less likely to cause damage than a metal option. To remove the snow properly and efficiently, work from the roof overhangs up toward the peak of the roof, clearing about a foot of snow at a time. If you attempt to clear too much in one pass, you will risk packing the snow, which makes it heavier and more difficult to remove.

4. Leave the ladder in the garage

The last and possibly the most important tip is to stay off the roof. Experts say that getting up on a snow-covered and potentially icy rooftop without the proper safety training and equipment is a dangerous idea.

In most scenarios, snow on your roof is not a crisis, but it is a good idea to keep accumulation to a minimum. We recommend focusing on the roof’s overhang – also called the eaves – to reduce the risk of ice dams forming. If you know your roof is too high or too complex to take from the ground, please do not try to take on the job yourself. Call a professional, as these companies have the proper tools and safety equipment to clear a snow-covered roof safely and quickly.

To find a company near you that removes snow from roofs professionally, a Google search is the best place to start.