Snow and Ice can cause significant damage to the roof of your home. From water damage and leaks to a full roof collapse, the picturesque snow of winter on the roof can also be a powerful enemy to your home. According to an NBC news report about the roof of home that collapsed last year, two feet of snow on an average roof can weigh 19 tons.
Trying to remove snow or ice from the roof can be a bad idea and lead to more home damage or even personal injury. Protect your roof and yourself this winter by preventing a build up of snow and ice in the first place, and removing it safely if needed.
Ice dams in particular can be dangerous.
An ice dam is a build up of ice near the gutters, which can weaken the roof and gutter system, and lead to water damage. An ice dam forms when accumulated snow on the roof melts and flows downward, usually under an existing blanket of snow. The water refreezes, forming a layer of ice that prevents melting snow from draining off of the roof. To prevent this type of damage, try one of the following solutions.
Please remember that climbing up on a roof, or waking on a roof, is a very dangerous thing to do. Add in the snow, ice or just the freezing temperatures of winter, and the risk is worse. Any efforts you make to prevent or remove snow and ice should be done from the ground or with the help of a professional.
Insulate Your Attic
Preventing heat from escaping through your roof will not only save you a lot of money on your energy bills, but will also prevent snow from melting and refreezing into ice dams. Make sure your attic is well-insulated and well-ventilated.
Clean Your Gutters
Have your gutters cleaned before the first snow falls. Debris in your gutters can cause blockages and the formation of ice dams. Home gutters should be throughly cleaned twice a year.
Install Roof Heating Cables
One way to prevent ice dams and snow accumulation from forming is by installing low heat heating cables along the perimeter of the roof. For best results, hire a professional who is knowledgable about the right way to do the installation for your particular roof.
Snow Roof Rake
Specially made roof rakes can help you remove existing snow from the roof. Not any rake will do. These tools are designed to effectively remove the snow without damaging shingles or gutters. Make sure to choose a high-quality roof rake that is ergonomic. Remove at least 2-3 inches of snow away from the gutters.
If you want to avoid the trouble of installing heating cables , you can use calcium chloride tablets, also known as roof melt. These tablets cause a chemical reaction that creates heat to melt the snow off of your roof. Because roof melt is only effective on thin layers of snow, you will need to use it on a regular basis to keep the snow from developing into a thick layer.
Hire Roofing Experts
Many roofing companies also offer a snow and ice removal service. Look for trained experts who are licensed and have OSHA approved fall protection equipment. If your roof still has a warranty in place, this may be the way to go, because the right professional will make sure that the warranty is not voided during the snow removal process.