IMAGINE if someone were standing near or walking by the car or garage door in the photos above. The potential for serious injury would have been very great. When roofs are heavy with snow and ice we all need to be very careful.

DID YOU KNOW ? - Wet snow that is 12 inches deep can weigh between 20 and 40 pounds per square foot! Consider how devastating wet snow can be it can be when it freezes over night and then thaws in the morning and falls from a roof. The car in the photo above was hit by snow and ice that fell three stories onto the car totalling it. The ice on the ground in the second photo fell from the roof just above the door. It bounced and hit the door, destroyed the bottom panel and rendered the door inoperable.This weight of snow, water and ice can also place a significant stress on roofs and lead to collapses. Think how heavy a scoop of wet or compacted snow feels when you are shoveling it and then imagine that weight all over your roof.

How Do You Remove Snow and Ice from Your Roof?
Once snow buildup occurs or ice dams form, using a roof rake is a good option that doesn't require you to put yourself at risk by climbing onto your roof. Roof rakes have extended handles which enable you to pull snow off the roof from the safety of the ground. To remove snow and ice, start from the edge and work your way up onto the roof using short downward strokes. Try shaving two or three inches off at a time. There's no need to scrape the roof entirely clean because doing so could damage the shingles or other roof covering. If necessary, buy extension poles or a longer rake to reach higher portions of the roof and avoid climbing on the roof or working from a ladder. CAUTION: Snow rakes, even fiberglass and wooden ones, can conduct electricity if they come into contact with a power line, so be careful.If you can't reach your roof with a roof rake, calling a professional to do the job is highly recommended.

How to Prevent Ice Damage or injury:

  • Watch where you park.
    Avoid parking spaces next to buildings, especially buildings with sloped roofs.
  • Look up.
    Be aware of what is overhead and as best possible avoid places where snow or ice could fall and cause injuries.
  • Get snow off the roof before it can cause ice damage or cause harm.
    Ice dams typically form when snow on the roof starts to melt due to heat escaping from inside the home. The melted water runs down the roof, refreezes and clogs up gutters. As more snow melts, because the gutters are blocked, the water is forced to travel under the shingles and leak into the house.
  • Clean your gutters bi-annually.
    Blocked gutters and downspouts can cause ice damns -- as well as rot and other water-based damage to your home. Before the first snow falls, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs and other debris that have collected through the fall. Perform this task again in the spring, to clean out the debris from winter.
  • Keep gutters and drains free of ice and snow.
    During winter months make sure your downspouts are clean at the ground level.
  • Use pantyhose for a fast fix.
    This Old House suggests filling the leg of a pair of pantyhose with calcium chloride ice melter. Put the hose onto the roof so it overhangs the gutter. The calcium chloride will melt through the snow and ice and free up a channel for water to flow down into the gutters and off the roof. CAUTION: calcium chloride should be handled carefully because it gives off heat when it comes in contact with moisture.

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