4 Ways to Get Snow Off Your Roof

We&;ve had a tough winter in New England, and hopefully the snow is gone for the season.  But if there&;s snow on your roof, it can cause a lot of problems.  Snow melts and refreezes due to the heat coming out of your home, generally freezing at the roof edge to form ice dams.  This lets more snow and water collect until you have either a leaking roof or one with a big hole in it.

So that snow has to come down.  There are a several ways to get snow off your roof, but each has its pros and cons.

Repairing Your Attic and Roof Before the Problem Starts

If you’ve got time on your hands during the summer, one method is to repair your attic.  Lay down additional insulation on the attic floor to keep heat out, and add weatherstripping to any windows and doors in your attic space.  Add more ventilation to remove heat so the temperature of your roof stays consistent.

With your roof, check your flashing, shingles, and asphalt underlay to make sure everything’s tight and there’s no damage that you missed, and install a guard such as Gutter Helmet on your rain gutters to allow ice and snow to slide off the roof while catching water.

This will get most of the snow off your roof, but the downside is the time and the cost.  Renovating your attic can be a major project and you may not have the time or money to do it.  Fortunately, it’s not the only option.

Heating Cables
Heating cables are very useful for getting snow off your roof, especially for the elderly or those not able to get up on their roof.  You simply turn them on and let the snow melt into your rain gutters.

There are a few problems, though.  The wires are, of necessity, thinly insulated, so it’s easy for water or other contaminants to get at the wire, possibly causing a fire hazard.  They only generate heat in about four inches in every direction, so wire has to be laid accordingly.  And, of course, your gutters will need to be completely clear.  They’ll also need a professional installation.  But if you can swing the money, it’s worth it to wake up, flip a switch, and forget it.  Everybody else is getting outside.

Snow Rake

Snow RakeThe snow rake is a wonderful thing, especially if you’re scared of heights.  Using the telescoping handle, you simply pull all the snow off your roof.

It’s much safer and more convenient than the other hand method, but you’ll be trading efficency and control for speed.  You’ll simply be pulling all the snow off your roof…onto whatever’s underneath it, meaning you’ll have to shovel any driveways or sidewalks you dump on.  Also, you may have to rake several times to get all the snow off your roof, and still get up on a ladder to clean out your rain gutters and remove any ice blockages.

Ladder and Shovel

This is the classic.  It’s cheap, it’s a good workout, it’s time spent outside…on a roof…at least a story or two up in the air.

So it’s not incredibly safe.  It is, at least, incredibly efficient, as you can dump all your snow in one place with ease for later disposal.   And, unlike the rest of these methods, you can make your kids do it instead while you supervise from below, with a nice warm cup of coffee.  Builds character!

Regardless of what method you use, gutter guards, such as our own Gutter Helmet, will really help.  They’ll keep debris out of your gutters, preventing clogs, and create a clean, consistent edge all around your roof, whether you’re tossing it over the side with a shovel, pulling it down with a rake, or just arranging it so that it all slides off like water on a duck’s back.

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