6 Reasons Why Roof Raking is Necessary this Winter

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Last updated on February 20th, 2020 at 05:17 am

Winter is often occasioned by unusual freezing temperatures coupled with light or heavy snowfall. It is usually the best time of the year to enjoy the fireside chats while keeping warm. Unfortunately, the joy of telling stories can be cut short when the rate of snowfall begins to increase gradually resulting in huge snow pileups on the roof. This can cause a homeowner to begin to worry that his or her beautiful roof might get damaged or fall apart. A tense mood can also engulf other occupants on hearing creaks produced as more snow pounds on the roof. And this is how a disaster begins in winter. However, you can prevent snow from ruining your joyful winter nights and causing other catastrophes discussed here by adopting a proper roof raking strategy.

But some people always ask or wonder, “Isn’t snow going to slide off of my slanted roof? Why should I worry?“. The answer is simple! While most roofs are pitched by design to allow snow and other objects to slide off, prolonged durations of snow precipitation can cause snow to accumulate on the roof. As more snow falls, the snow cover on the roof may advance to more than 6 inches, which is dangerous. 6 inches of snow is a lot of weight on a roof if we assume that each cubic foot of snow is equal to 20 pounds. This definitely requires a solid plan to remove excess snow to mitigate the risks.

Some of the best roof snow removal techniques include shoveling and roof raking. Shoveling involves the use of a plastic-edged scoop to remove the snow. With this method, you must climb on the roof to scoop snow. The scoop is plastic-edged to prevent any damage to the roof. Roof raking, on the other hand, involves using a snow rake to remove the snow from the roof. Most snow roof rakes have long handles that make it easier to cut into roof snow while on the ground. While each of these roof snow removal methods is useful, you may need to consider the following factors to decide which one is more effective for your case.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Roof Snow Removal Method

  • Type of roofing material used

    The type of roofing material used is an important factor in determining a structure’s ability to hold loads and susceptibility to failure. Buildings with tough and permanent roofing materials are less susceptible to snow-induced failures compared to buildings with not-so-tough roofing materials. Understanding the type of roofing material of your house is important so that you can know when the level of snow cover is dangerous and needs to be plowed off.

  • Amount of snow and the distribution on the roof

    The amount of snow that falls is dependent on atmospheric and geographical conditions, altitude, humidity, and other environmental variations. The amount of snow on your roof is the guiding factor in determining the method of snow peeling to use. For example, if snow is unevenly distributed on your roof you will need to employ more that one snow clearing method in order to remove effectively all excess snow.

  • Pitch of your roof

    Flat roofs are more vulnerable to collapse because of the accumulated weight of the snow and ice, which don’t clear as quickly as they do on a pitched roof.

  • The surface area of the roof

    The amount of snow on the roof depends on the roof geometry as well as the surface area. A roof with a large surface area means that it will have a larger snow load compared to one with a small surface area.

  • Height of the roof

    The height and elevation affect snow distribution on your roof in the sense that a building with varying roof heights will lead to snow drifting and hence causing unbalanced loading conditions.

  • Type of snow; whether powdery or wet.

    The height and elevation affect snow distribution on your roof in the sense that a building with varying roof heights will lead to snow drifting and hence causing unbalanced loading conditions.

  • Safety

    Working on heights especially in snowy conditions poses a lot of risks to a person. It is important that one wears protective gear to prevent and protect bodily harm

Why Remove Snow from Roof?

roof-snow-removal
Removing snow from roof during winter

While some people may advise you to keep calm when your roof starts to groan due to the huge snow pile-up, claiming that nature will take care of it, here are some valid reasons why you should not hesitate to remove snow from roof.

  1. Roof collapse

    Most roofs are designed to endure stress up to a certain limit. Once the limit has been exceeded, the roof is at the risk of collapsing. This may result in damage to property, room occupants risk, body injuries as well as the damaging of the house structure. And so, as you lurk inside your house without any knowledge of the accumulated snow on your roof, please remember that the roof may cave in any time. Therefore, be sure to check and remove the accumulated snow from your roof.

  2. Formation of ice dams

    Heat loss from home and outside temperatures may cause the snow to melt. An ice dam forms at the edge of the roof and prevents the melting snow from draining off the roof. The water that collects up behind the dam may leak into homes and cause damage to walls, interior decorations, ceilings, insulations, and other valuables. The damp conditions caused by the water leaking into a home may cause the growth of mildew and mold. This may cause respiratory problems to the occupants of the home. It is important to note that ice dams also lead to blockages of vents resulting in poor ventilation in a home. Apart from removing the snow from your roof, it is also important to control the heat being lost from a home.

  3. Prevent damage to eaves troughs

    Eavestroughs are channels that run water off the roof and gutter to the main drainage system. They are to be kept clear at all times so as to ensure that water drains freely. In the event that snow accumulates and finds its way to the eavestrough, the eavestrough might end up broken. Also, it means that water that should have gone through the eavestrough will fall along the foundation of your house putting the foundation in great danger. And in case that water gets absorbed, you might find your basement leaking and hence basement flooding when there are more downpours. Damaged eavestroughs are bad for the aesthetic beauty of your home and so it’s highly recommended that the accumulated snow on the roof be removed before it damages them.

  4. Blocked roof vents

    Roof vents play a vital role in the ventilation and free flow of air in a home. Once the snow has accumulated it may block the vents and hence the room will not be adequately ventilated. It is thus highly advisable to remove snow to prevent the clogging of vents with snow. This also enhances the circulation of air.

  5. Falling icicles

    Icicles are formed when water dripping from an object freezes. They are usually an indication that ice dams have already formed on your roof and the ventilation and insulation of your home are at risk. Removing the excess snow is thus important to put your house in good shape. Icicles also fall abruptly and this may cause harm and injury to occupants of the house including animals. The falling icicles may also damage property. It is thus good to remove the excess snow so that it does not reach the levels of forming icicles.

  6. Bent roof vents and damaged electrical wires

    Snow sliding from the roof will have adverse effects on the vents and may even bend them. The vents also get clogged with snow. Sometimes the snow may fall on wirings on the roof and may damage the wiring. It may also increase the chance of electrical failure in your house which also increases the risk of electrocution.

Do’s and Don’ts During Roof Snow Removal

  • Always remove snow when it piles up to 6 inches deep or more to avoid the risk of damaging your property with excessive weight from the snow.
  • Ensure that at least 2 inches or 5 centimeters of snow are left on the roof during removal. The idea is to remove the excess snow that may cause damage to property and not remove it completely as this may cause the snow removal tools to damage the roof.
  • Avoid sprinkling salt on the roof.  Although salt is used to eliminate snow, avoid sprinkling it on the roof as it may discolor shingles and probably cause structural damage to the roof. Brine may also increase the chances of corrosion and rust.
  • Always dispose of removed snow in the right and designated place. The places should be away from ventilation exits, building exits, walkways or drainage systems.
  • Always insist on using plastic rakes as opposed to metal ones so as to avoid causing damage on your roof.
  • Always ensure that extra care is taken to avoid hitting and overhead cables and power lines.

Julius

Julius is an electrical engineer by profession who used to work at a solar microgrid firm as an O&M supervisor. While there, he realized that having the right tools for the trade is equal to getting the job half done. That's when he started this blog to talk about tools.

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