Shovel, blower, rake: What to choose to remove snow from roof?

Snow accumulation on your roof can pose significant risks to your home’s structure and safety. Understanding how to effectively remove snow and when to call in professionals is crucial, especially in areas prone to heavy snowfall. This article provides a comprehensive overview of various snow removal methods, DIY approaches, preventive accessories, and more.

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Why Remove Snow from Your Roof

Removing snow from your roof is essential to prevent potential hazards like roof collapse due to weight overload, formation of ice dams that can cause water damage, and strain on your roof’s structural integrity. Regular removal helps maintain the longevity of your roof and ensures your home’s safety.

DIY Snow Removal Methods

1. Snow Shovel: A basic snow shovel can be used for low-pitched or flat roofs. It’s important to use a plastic shovel rather than metal to avoid damaging the roof shingles.

2. Roof Rake for Snow: Snow roof rakes are effective for removing snow without climbing onto the roof. They come with extendable handles and are particularly useful for high and steep roofs.

3. Snow Roof Hooks: These are attachments for snow rakes that help pull snow off the roof safely. They are especially handy for hard-to-reach areas.

A homeowner is going to remove snow from the roof with a shovel

Professional Snow Removal Tools

1. Snow Blower: For large amounts of snow, a snow blower can be a quick solution. However, it’s typically used by professionals due to the complexity of operating it on a roof.

2. Snow Machine: In commercial settings or for very large residential properties, a snow machine, which is a heavy-duty snow removal equipment, might be used.

When to Call Professionals

  • Heavy Snow Accumulation: If the snow depth exceeds a foot or if you have a steep, high, or complex roof.
  • Ice Dam Formation: Professionals can safely remove ice dams, which are tricky and dangerous to handle.
  • Lack of Proper Equipment: If you don’t have the necessary tools or if the job seems too risky.

A thick layer of snow on the roof - time to seek professional snow removal assistance

Preventive Accessories

1. Snow Brake, Snow Guard, Snow Stop: These accessories help break up the snow as it falls, preventing large amounts of snow from sliding off the roof suddenly.

2. Snow Rails: Installed along the edge of the roof, snow rails add an extra layer of protection by holding back snow.

Safety Tips

  • Never Work Alone: Always have someone nearby in case of an emergency.
  • Use Proper Safety Gear: Wear non-slip boots, gloves, and use safety ropes if necessary.
  • Be Aware of Power Lines: Keep a safe distance from power lines.

Removing snow from your roof is a vital part of maintaining your home’s safety and integrity during the winter months. Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire professionals, it’s important to understand the various methods and tools available. Additionally, installing preventive accessories can significantly reduce the risk of snow-related damage. Remember, safety should always be your top priority when dealing with snow removal on your roof.

Safety is paramount when working on the roof and removing snowFAQ

Can roof raking damage shingles?

Yes, roof raking can potentially damage shingles, especially if not done carefully. It's important to use a roof rake with a plastic rake head rather than metal to minimize the risk of scraping or dislodging the shingles. Also, avoid applying excessive force, especially on asphalt or other delicate roofing materials.

Do I need to rake the whole roof?

It's not always necessary to rake the entire roof. Focus on areas with heavy snow loads, particularly over living spaces where the heat from your home can cause uneven melting and refreezing. For sloped roofs, clearing the first few feet can help prevent ice dams.

Are snow roof rakes worth it?

Snow roof rakes are definitely worth it, especially in regions with several inches of snow. They allow you to remove snow safely from the ground, reducing the risk of heavy snow loads and ice dams, and can extend the lifespan of your roof.

What happens if you don't remove snow from roof?

Not removing snow from your roof can lead to several problems. Heavy, wet snow or compacted snow can create significant weight (snow loads) on your roof, potentially leading to structural damage. Additionally, it can contribute to the formation of ice dams, which can cause water to back up under the shingles and leak into your home.

Does roof raking help with ice dams?

Roof raking can help prevent the formation of ice dams by removing the snow that melts and refreezes at the roof's edge. However, for existing ice dams, more specialized removal methods may be necessary.

Can you shovel snow off your roof?

While it's possible to shovel snow off your roof, it's generally not recommended due to the risk of damage to your roofing materials and personal injury. If shoveling is necessary, use a plastic snow pusher instead of metal shovels, and be extremely cautious, especially on sloped roofs.

How to choose a roof snow shovel?

Choose a roof snow shovel with an ergonomic handle to reduce strain, and a plastic head to prevent damage to the shingles. Ensure it's lightweight yet sturdy enough to handle packed snow and heavy snow loads. For metal roofs, consider a metal roof snow guard to protect the surface.

Can I use a leaf blower to clear snow?

No, standard cordless, corded, gas, or electric leaf blowers are not designed for snow removal. They lack the power to move wet, compacted snow and can be damaged by moisture. For blowing snow, you need a specialized snow blower designed to handle the weight and volume of snow per cubic foot.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only.  Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. We recommend consulting with professional snow removal services for specific advice and services tailored to your individual needs.