Knowing how to get snow off your roof shingles efficiently and safely is essential. So if you plan to remove the snow yourself, you have come to the right place.
Please note, these processes should only be used for low roofs, if you have more than one story we recommend that you bring in the professionals. People die or suffer injuries every year while clearing the snow from roofs.
For that reason, it is important to use the appropriate techniques.
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Roof Snow Removal
People often ask, should I remove snow from my roof, or do I need to shovel my roof to clear the snow? The simple answer is yes, getting snow off the roof should be done regularly, especially if you don’t know how much snow your roof can hold.
In this article, we will cover some of the main points to help you clear snow from your roof as safely as possible, avoiding injury to yourself or damage to your home.
When To Remove Snow From A Roof
There can be serious consequences for your home when you leave snow on your roof too long. There is the problem of the weight on your roof beams, in addition to risking an ice dam building up. If you’d like to learn more about ice dams, what they are and how they form check my other roofing posts, I’ve also got a full guide on ice dam removal you might find helpful.
Moreover, leaving it creates further hazards for yourself when clearing. So, when should you clear the snow and ice?
To avoid problems regularly clear snow from the roof. When it reaches a depth of about 2 inches is ideal. Having said that, if you plan to use a snow removal company they will usually advise between 6 and 12 inches.
In light of that, here are some signs you may see inside if you have roof damage. Notice any of the following and it’s time to call the professionals.
- Roof leaks
- Damaged rafters
- Cracks in the wall
- Sticking doors
Best Way To Remove Snow From Your Roof
Below are three of the most effective ways to remove snow from roofs.
Whichever method you choose, ensure all necessary safety precautions are taken. If you have no appropriate experience you should never attempt to actually get onto any roof.
DIY Snow Removal Tools
The DIY roof snow removal tool that you require will be determined by the type of snow you are dealing with, in addition to the style of the roof. Consider the angle of your roof and the depth of the snowfall when deciding on how to remove snow from the roof safely.
Roof Rake: Fluffy snow on angled roofs.
Steamer: Hard snow and ice.
Rope: Light snow.
Wire: Any kind of snow.
Using Wire To Remove Snow Easily
Using a wire is a great low-cost DIY tool that doesn’t require getting on the roof. You should never attempt to clear snow on your own, not only is it safer with at least 2 it is also faster.
Here’s a video step-by-step guide, with the basic instructions listed below:
Step 2: Holding both ends of the wire in your hands, throw the wire up unto the roof.
Step 3: Slowly step backward. The wire will slide the snow down as you move away. (This can be referred to as an avalanche method, make sure you are out of the way)
Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 until there is no longer a hazard.
Removing Snow With A Rope
This removal process is very similar to using a wire but takes a little more effort. Again, working with two or more will make this method easier.
Step 1: Use a ladder (with someone holding it) to place the rope over a section of snow on the roof. Let the two ends of the rope dangle to the ground.
Step 2: Take both ends of the rope.
Step 3: Step backward while pulling the rope through the snow covering.
Here’s a pretty extreme example of rope being used to clear several feet of snow in Norway:
Using A Roof Rake Or Shovel
The right tool for the job is required, do not just use your garden rake for this, it will damage the surface of your roof. Be sure to invest in a roof rake designed for the job, such as the Avalanche Snow Roof Rake pictured above.
With A Rake:
Step 1: Buy one of the best snow roof rakes you can find in your budget.
Step 1: Extend the rake to the lower part of the roof.
Step 2: Press down into the snow and then pull it down.
With A Shovel:
Using shovels means getting on the roof. Again, we do not recommend you do this unless you are experienced. If in doubt, give the professionals a shout.
Step 1: Climb to the highest point of the roof.
Step 2: Start shoveling from the top without removing the lowest 3 feet at the edge of the roof. (The 3 feet at the bottom acts as a barrier in case you slip).
Step 3: Remove the last 3 feet using a rope, wire, or rake as explained in the previous sections.
Tools For Removing Snow From Solar Panels
Solar panels are somewhat delicate so you want to take extra care not to damage them. There are several safe ways to do so.
Option 1: Do nothing. If your solar panels are at an angle of 35degrees then the snow should melt sufficiently for it to slide off within 2-3 days.
Option 2: Use a rubber squeegee. Use extreme care if doing this, your panels are very delicate.
Option 3: The fun option we have seen people do is to use Nerf balls. Not as efficient but great fun!
Option 4: Wash it away with a water hose. Note: Do not do this in freezing conditions, you will only make ice.
Other Commonly Asked Questions
How much snow on a roof is dangerous?
There is no exact way to say how much snow on a roof is dangerous. You need to know the weight of the snow and how much snow your roof can hold. Whether it is wet snow or dry snow will vary the weight.
Another variant is the roofing material, design, and condition.
Do you have to clear snow off your roof?
Yes, you do have to clear snow off your roof it gets beyond a thin covering.
For DIY removal clear when the depth is 2 inches. If you are using professionals, depending on the roof structure, between 6 inches to a foot can build before clearing is necessary.
How much does it cost to remove snow from a roof?
How much it costs to remove snow from a roof will depend on the size and angle of the roof. But expect to pay between $100 and $400.
What does it mean if snow stays on your roof?
If snow stays on your roof then you have done a good job as it means the roof is well insulated. With no heat escaping you are saving energy.