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Snow and Ice Hazards – Removing Snow and Ice from Your Roof

By February 22, 2013April 15th, 2018General Updates

With our recent snow storm leaving massive damage throughout the area and more snow predicted for tonight, it’s important to protect your property from snow and ice damage.  Snow and ice have the potential to cause severe damage to the roof of your property, but there are steps that you can take to reduce your risks. Below are our tips on How to Remove Ice and Snow from Your Roof:

Snow Removal from Your Roof

The first step is to remove the first few feet of snow from your roof immediately after the storm. This can prevent the formation of ice build-up (ice dams).

  • Flat roofs can usually be easily shoveled. Use your judgment here, especially if there is ice build-up.  If the area is not safe, contact a professional to handle the job.
  • Sloped roofs can often be managed using a roof rake. Use the roof rake while standing on the ground and pull as much snow as possible off the eaves. Removing the first few feet of the snow closest to the gutters will help relieve the build-up. We do not recommend using a ladder in snowy and icy conditions.

Ice Removal from Your Roof

Ice dams develop when water from melting snow re-freezes at the edge of your roof line. Ice dams are dangerous because they can prevent water from draining off the roof.

When an ice dam develops, it is recommended that you remove it as soon as possible.

  • If you can reach the ice dam safely, try to knock it off with a roof rake, or cut a channel through the ice to allow standing water to drain.
  • Another method is to use calcium chloride ice melt. Fill a nylon stocking with calcium chloride ice melt and place it vertically across the ice dam so that it melts a hole through the ice.
  • Do not remove ice dams if you cannot do it safely. There are professional companies available that are insured and will remove your ice dam using professional equipment.

Long-term prevention:

  • Insulate your attic to help prevent the melting-and-freezing cycle that causes ice dams to form. You should also reduce or eliminate any sources of heat in the attic and ventilate the attic space of the roof.
  • Install a water-repellent membrane. As an extra precaution against roof leaks in case ice dams do form, install a water repellent membrane under your roof covering.

Remember, the cost of snow removal is likely to be less than the cost of roof damage or interior property damage caused by water leaks.

For additional information, download our Winter, Snow and Ice Damage Prevention Guides
for your Property:

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