How to Safely Remove Snow from Your Roof

Thick pile of snow on the rooftop of a house

Heavy snow can cause roof damage. However, removing snow from your roof can also be dangerous to do. Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts to help you safely remove snow from your roof and reduce the chances of roof damage.

Do Plan Ahead

Check your positioning before you start removing snow. See where the snow might fall and what they consequences might be. Always give yourself ample room to retreat if more snow comes off the roof than expected.

Don’t Do It Alone

Always have someone acting as your spotter when removing snow from your roof. They can keep an eye out for drifts, sudden snow slides, and icicles, which are hard to see (and hear) when you’re focused on removing snow.

Do Use a Roof Rake

A roof rake is the safest way to remove snow from your roof. It allows you to stay on the ground and off ladders, which can be especially dangerous in the cold. Roof rakes can also extend to give you more reach.

Don’t Try to Get All the Snow

It’s not necessary to remove all the snow from your roof. You just want to remove enough to prevent collapses or dangerous snow slides. It’s OK to leave a couple inches of snow on the roof.

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Do Go Slow and Take Breaks

Especially when snow is heavy, you should take your time and take breaks. Removing snow can be strenuous work, which can cause muscles strains. You may also break a sweat, which can be a dangerous combination in the cold. In the worst cases, overworking to remove snow could cause heart attacks.

Don’t Go on the Roof

Going on a roof is dangerous in even the best conditions. Avoid going on the roof to shovel or otherwise remove snow. The risk of slipping is too great to risk.

Do Check Gutters and Downspouts

Make sure your downspouts aren’t blocked after removing snow. Blocked downspouts can cause ice dams, which can in turn cause damage to your roof and gutters, or even seepage into your house.

If you notice that your gutters have lots of big icicles, it could be a sign that your gutters are clogged. You should call a professional at this point. Avoid the temptation to knock the icicles off! They could cause damage to the house or harm to you and your snow-removal partner.

Don’t Use Direct Heat

Whether it’s a hair dryer, blowtorch, or other heat source, never under any circumstances apply direct heat to snow on the roof. Doing so could cause many problems, such as:

  • Fires
  • Avalanches
  • Flooding

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Do Be Safe

When clearing snow off your roof, safety is the most important thing. If you aren’t sure about whether you can do the job yourself, call a professional.

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Low-cost home service plans.

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