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Top 10 Tips for Removing Snow Pileup from Roofs

Thursday, February 03, 2011


As rain mixed with heavy piles of snow yesterday, the City of Providence issued a warning on roof collapses, saying it was a high concern to emergency management officials.

“The amount of recent snowfall that is piling up could weaken roof structure and cause a collapse,” said Peter Gaynor, director of the city Emergency Management Agency. “Homeowners and business owners should be mindful of the risk of personal injury to themselves and occupants before removing snow from roofs. A contractor could be helpful in assessing the need for snow removal. Most tree removal companies will do snow removal from roofs.”

Signs that a roof is about to collapse: Other than the obvious one—a sagging roof that is visually deformed, look out for severe leaks, cracked or split wood members, bends or ripples in metal supports, cracks in walls, masonry, cracks in welds of steel construction, sprinkler heads pushed down from ceiling tiles, doors that pop open—or that are difficult to close, windows that are difficult to close, and bowed utility pipes. Also be on the alert for creaking, cracking, or popping sounds.

Tips to homeowners for dealing with the problem

1. Use a snow rake (available at most hardware stores) to remove snow from your roof.

2. Keep in mind that any metal tool could conduct electricity if it touches a power line.

3. Another reason to avoid metal tools: they will do more damage to your roof.

4. Most plastic shovels are better, except for the ones with curved blades—those too will do some damage to your roof.

5. Try to shave the snow down to one inch on the roof—instead of scraping the roof clean, which will again risk damage to your shingles.

6. Don’t use a ladder since ice tends to build up on both the rungs of the ladder and the soles of your boots.

7. Large icicles are as dangerous as they look and should be carefully removed if they're hanging over doorways and walkways.

8. Don’t forget to wear protective headgear and goggles.

9. Consider hiring professionals to do the job. The combination of heights plus ice makes this one of the more dangerous house chores.

10. If you don't hire professionals, at least have someone outside with you—in case anything does go wrong.

Sources: City of Providence, http://weather.thefuntimesguide.com/


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