Most Crucial Reasons to Remove Snow off Your Roof

House with snow on the roof
bostonmagazine.com

A thick snow cap on the rooftop of your house and crystal-like icicles hanging from its edges might look really pretty, create a winter fairytale mood.  However, they’re definitely something you should try your best to control in order to preserve your roof in a great condition and avoid ice dam, excessive load, sudden leakage and other issues in the middle of the winter or right after the cold season is over.

Ice dams, heavy load and dangerous fall downs

The main reason why you need to keep the snow off the roof is not even the fact that your roof is designed to bear a certain amount on weight. It’s the ice damming effect that is the main source of the winter damage your roofing might experience if you don’t take the necessary precautions and ensure regular maintenance.

During the season, the snow on the rooftop melts due to the weather conditions, the difference between the temperatures on the inside and outside of the roof or the heat escaping from the house and making the lower layer of the snow ‘leak’.

But, the water from the melted snow doesn’t go anywhere. The vast majority of it seeps into the joints between the shingles or roofing sheets (depending on the type of the roof your house features) and accumulates at the edges. As the snow keeps on melting and refreezing, the ice dams develop on the roof, causing the major damage to its surface and possibly your attic insulation and the house interior in general.

how ice damps form on roofs without snow removal

Some roofing contractors note that it’s vitally important to at least make sure that the snow buildup doesn’t block your vent pipes and chimneys (if you have any, of course) to keep your ventilation system going and prevent the deadly carbon monoxide accumulation inside the house.

Another basic house and backyard safety issue is related to the huge piles of snow sliding off the roofs and icicles falling on things and people during the heat waves in winter.

On top of that, while modern houses are built according to the guidelines that require the roofs to be able to withstand significant layer of snow piling up on them throughout the season, even those may sag over time, not mentioning the older structures that may even collapse under the snow load.

So, why it’s completely safe to let the nature do its thing and let a few inch layer of snow on your rooftop create a charming atmosphere, it’s definitely better not to sacrifice the safety and get rid of the excess buildup.

Rooftop snow removal is extremely dangerous

One has to remember that any roof-related work is highly dangerous, especially when carried out without the right tools and the most necessary safety equipment. There’re various rakes that might help homeowners remove the snow from the rooftops from the ground. Thus, if you’re able to find the rake of the right size and with the handle that’s long enough to reach the hardest spots, you may totally clear out your snowy roof on your own.

But, you won’t be able to see if there are any ice dams on your roof without climbing on it. And, it would be certainly impossible for you to apply the chemicals to resolve them without damaging the roofing material or check on the vents and chimneys to make sure that they’re not blocked by a snow cap and clear them out with no special tools. That’s why, in terms of safety and efficiency, it’s definitely worth to contact snow and ice removal services after a major snowfall or if you notice any signs of roof leaks or ice dams during the winter time.

men removing snow off the rooftop

Please, refrain from getting on top of the sloped roofs to remove the snow from it unless you’re a contractor who’s used to such kind of tasks and has the safety straps and other equipment to prevent the accidents.

Finally, in most cases, there’s no need in getting the snow off the roof unless its layer exceeds 12 inches in depth. However, if your roof previously had some experience with the dams’ development or tends to leak even with a thinner layer of snow on its top, you might want to rake it after every decent snowfall. Also, you need to get your roof checked and treated for the dams if you notice the icicles on the roof and if a few heat waves happen throughout the winter.

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