As the winter closes in on us and the sun sets earlier each night, we’re reminded of the dreaded winter chore: cleaning off layers of cold, wet snow. It’s a miserable task, especially when we have to haul ourselves on the roof to do it. However, the sheer idea of our beloved home and roof sitting beneath all of that dangerous moisture is enough to make any homeowner face the cold and get it done.
There’s a good chance your roof isn’t going to cave in from having a mound of snow sitting on top of it, but that doesn’t mean that you’re in the clear from having to remove it. Problems can occur from your roof having to bear the excess weight like structural damage, and if you’ve got a large, flat roof, that’s an even bigger risk.
There’s one imperative safety tip to removing snow off of your roof and that’s keeping both of your feet planted on the ground—don’t try to climb your roof in the dead of an icy winter.
You can’t brush off the statistics presented by the National Safety Council: in 2016, 697 workers died in falls to a lower level and over 48,000 were injured from falls, requiring time off of work. As a homeowner, your risks are even greater because you probably don’t have the appropriate safety gear like a harness, slip-resistant boots, proper extension ladders, and anchoring designed for cold weather conditions.
The only exception to the “no climbing” policy is for homeowners with a flat, walkable roof. Still, you should proceed with the utmost caution—and with the assistance of a friend spotting you. Remove snow by shoveling it over the sides, away from the building.
So, your roof has snow and it’s strongly advised that you don’t climb your roof to clean it off. How do you remove the snow safely from your roof?
Your goal is to remove the excessive snow off of the roof. Even if you’re a perfectionist, know that the heat produced from your home will take care of the rest. Also, if you scrape the roof clean, you could potentially damage your shingles. Your job is to simply lift the weight of the snow so it doesn’t cause damage to your home’s structure.
You can accomplish this task from the ground and the good news is that they make the tool just for this job. They’re long-handled snow rakes and you can find them at any hardware store. These rakes work best on fresh snow, the kind that’s light and fluffy. But the downside is that this snow is the kind that doesn’t really need to be removed.
A standard snow rake has a telescoping handle, built-in rollers, and its blade moves above the shingles so it doesn’t damage the roof when you’re shoveling off the snow. The standard models are typically sold for around $45. Of course, you can buy more expensive versions around or above $100 that slide between the roof and the snow, using gravity and the weight of the snow to do the work for you.
From the ground, make sure that you start from the edge and work your way into the roof as much as you can. Clean off gutters and drains, and on the ground, make sure the downspouts are clean so water is able to runoff without blockage. Work to remove the snow so that there’s 2-3 inches remaining (so you won’t damage your shingles).
Whatever tool you end up using to shovel the snow off of the roof, be mindful that metal tools can conduct electricity if it touches a power line. Also, using a metal tool can do damage to your roof. Even if the snow rake is designed for lighter snow, it’s still your best tool for snow removal.
In the wintertime, ice builds on the rungs of the ladder. Therefore, even if you’ve just pulled your ladder from your warm garage, it could be icy and slippery by the time you’re ready to climb down. Ice also builds on the soles of your shoes.
Even if you’re wearing slip-resistant, heavily threaded boots, the soles can still be prone to becoming icy. This, combined with a few icy rungs of a ladder, is why there are so many accidents every year involving homeowners trying to clean off their roofs during the winter.
Climbing onto your roof with the snow adds extra weight, which is something you most definitely shouldn’t be doing unless you’re a professional. This extra weight from your body or equipment you may have on can wreak structural damage or worse, cause the roof to cave in from the added stress.
It should go without saying to not use any open-flame devices or any devices that produce electric heat like heat guns or hairdryers for your snow removal. Not only is this dangerous, but it could result in a deadly accident.
Safety should be on the forefront of your mind when undertaking this winter chore. Keep both feet on the ground and never climb your roof to remove snow—no matter how skilled you may believe you are.
With snow and hail, your roof doesn’t have the longevity to sustain a long life. Your roof undergoes decades of structural damage done by the likes of snow and bad weather in the Midwest. At Feldco Roofing, we provide the best asphalt shingles made with a water-proof barrier.
With this synthetic underlayment, your roof will hold up for decades thanks to this breakthrough design and triple layer protection. You don’t want to wait any longer and there are no better deals than the ones you’ll find at Feldco. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote online today.
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