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When should you remove snow and icicles from your roof?

Media: Accuweather.
Link: When should you remove snow and icicles from your roof?


In the world of a child, knocking huge icicles hanging from a roof is the most fun game the winter can provide. But to the wallets of a homeowner, knocking huge icicles hanging from a roof can be a costly catastrophe.

Many roofing and gutter companies around the country tell clients to leave the icicles hanging and wait for warmer weather, provided they aren’t in danger of falling on a dangerous location, like a doorway or driveway. While a damaged gutter can sometimes be covered by insurance, shingles and other roofing materials can also be ripped off, causing bigger issues.

Icicles roof

A frosty sunset is seen through icicles in Peremilovo village, 65 km (40,6 miles) north of Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Another important precaution to remember is that added weight to any roof can cause extra, unexpected problems. For this reason, it is advised that homeowners never go up on shingled roofs to shovel off snow.

“It’s not recommended for a typical homeowner to remove icicles because it could cause damage to spouting and roofing,” Brian Groover, the owner of Groover Roofing and Siding, told vindy.com. “There’s always a risk factor to the house and person (when you knock down icicles.) If there’s nothing coming in the house, I’d let Mother Nature run its course, even if you have a massive amount of icicles.”

However, business owners or homeowners with flat roofs face different factors. According to icedamremovalguys.com, a flat roof covered in snow is more likely to be damaged than a sloped one.

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“A flat roof is often times more susceptible to collapse than a sloped roof, simply because a sloped roof disperses weight whereas a flat roof cannot,” icedamremovalguys.com said.

With lighter, fluffier snow, a leaf blower can be a useful tool for blowing the snow off the top of a flat roof. For heavier snow that can’t be blown off, a plastic shovel is recommended, as a metal-tipped shovel could easily scrape or damage the roofing material.

While it may be tempting to save a few dollars by doing the snow removal yourself, it is always recommended to hire a professional team. Not only is that the safer option, but professionals have a greater range of more effective tools to use and can remove the snow without risking roof damage.

Shoveling snow from roof

Swiss police officer shovels snow on a roof top of a hotel, the day before the opening of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012 . Davos saw 16 inches (40 centimeters) of fresh snow overnight, with roadside mounds already reaching heights of more than eight feet (about 2.5 meters). (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Different state laws also may dictate what is required with snow or icicle removal and who is responsible or liable for such removal. Most cities and states require property owners to remove snow and ice from properties.

In Massachusetts, property owners are required to remove snow and ice from any area where visitors, tenants or the general public might travel frequently. In Maine, a law was passed in the city of Bath that required downtown business owners to remove icicles from buildings at the threat of fines.

The city reasoned that the ice chunks could become a hazard if they fell on people or vehicles below.

“The ordinance also requires that owners and/or occupants keep the sidewalk safe by removing ice that may form, or treating it with salt/sand so that footing is secure, and seeing that there are no dangerous icicles hanging from their buildings over the sidewalk,” the City of Bath said in a reminder statement. “The purpose of the ordinance is to help keep the sidewalks safe and convenient for those using them.”

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Written by on March 18, 2019

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