When winter winds start to blow, ice and snow buildup on your roof could lead to damage and costly repairs. While most roofs can stand up to a fair bit of snow, you may need to clear your roof if snowfall has been particularly heavy or if you notice your gutters are clogged.
Clearing Snow and Ice From Your Roof
The safest way to remove snow from your roof yourself is to use a long snow rake. These tools are available at most hardware stores and come in various sizes and lengths. Stand on the ground and use the length of the rake's pole to reach your roof. Start at the edge of your roof and work your way up, always pulling the snow down along the slope of your roof instead of horizontally to avoid loosening your shingles. Don't aim to scrape your roof completely bare. Leaving a few inches of snow will protect your roof from damage from the rake.
Ice dams are the most common cause of roofing problems in the winter months. If you don't have gutter guards or your attic insulation is lacking and you notice icicles forming along the edge of your roof, there's a good chance it's causing damage. When ice builds up in your gutters, the water works its way up under the shingles and can cause leaks that lead to moisture damage inside your house.
Using a roof rake requires a considerable amount of strength, so don't risk it if you have back or shoulder problems, a heart condition, or any other medical condition that affects your strength or balance. It's not a good idea to get on top of your home with a ladder when the roof is coated with snow and ice. In addition to the risk of injury and death from slipping or falling, you're actually more likely to cause damage to your roof by climbing on top of it since your bodyweight will focus more pressure in a small area of your roof than the snow buildup will.
Never use a heater, hair dryer, or open flame to melt ice and snow on your roof. The water runoff can refreeze and create an ice dam. Using calcium chloride tablets to melt snow and ice on your roof can cause the same issues.
If you're not comfortable using a roof rake, or not able to for whatever reason, it's best to call a professional to make sure your roof is cleared properly. A professional roofing contractor will know how to clear your roof safely and can bring a team of people to get the job done.