Winter’s snowy arrival was delayed this year as unusually warm weather kept most of the country east of the Rockies green and dry. Quite suddenly, all that has changed and some areas of the midwest are experiencing heavy snowfalls. One snowfall usually doesn’t present a problem for most houses, but multiple storms and the customary thawing and refreezing can add a heavy weight to your roof, quite possibly causing it to buckle under severe conditions.
In between storms is the time when you’ll want to take care of the snow on your roof. Prevent ice dams from forming and lighten the load by considering the following options:
— If you have a flat roof on your home as many businesses do, then you have the right surface for blowing snow off of the roof. On pitched roofs, snow is more likely to eventually fall off to the ground below. With a flat roof, snow has no where to go, but to build up. Get your snowblower on top of your flat roof as soon as possible to remove that snowy burden from its surface.
— No snow blower should be used on a pitched roof, which means that a roof rake is the ideal tool to handle this job. Names such as Garelick, Avalanche!, Snow Joe and Garant are what you’ll hear of when shopping for a roof rake. Snow rakes typically come with a 16-foot handle and some offer a 5-foot extension, allowing you to work from the ground. Roof rakes are best used immediately after a fresh snowfall, but aren’t particularly helpful in removing ice.
— Once ice builds up on your roof you’ll start to experience ice dams, which if left untreated can force melting snow to back into your home, causing significant damage. Ice melt can work at temperatures well below freezing and, on a sunny day, can get the job done even when temperatures are near single digits. Look for a product that is especially designed for your roof as other products may be too abrasive for your shingles. One product, RoofMelt, is easy to apply. Simply toss a tablet on top of your roof — it then melts its way down, settling on the roof’s surface. RoofMelt comes into contact with snow and ice, creating water and freeing up the ice dam. Products containing calcium chloride are among the safest to use on roof surfaces.
— How about your fire department? Can they be called on to help out? Probably not, unless there is an emergency. Such an emergency would be one where there is a leak and it is threatening your electrical line or equipment. Of course, if you hear odd noises and suspect that something is remiss, you can call on your fire department for guidance.
If you can’t handle the job yourself, there are people who would be willing to do the job for you. For a price. That price may seem steep, but the alternative — expensive roof repairs may greatly outweigh your costs. Be careful when using a ladder — ensure certain footing on the ground before attempting to climb up and handle