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Where Should You Put Your Roof Snow? Not in These Spots

You’ve resolved to keep the snow off your roof, so you can prevent ice dams. Great! Just pay attention to where you drop it, because dropping your roof-snow in any old spot can cause problems.

Many important items might sit in the path of your personal blizzard. Some of those items don’t respond well to being clogged or covered with snow and ice.

Don’t put snow on your air conditioning unit.

If it’s strictly an AC unit a little snow probably won’t damage it. But if it’s also a heat pump unit you shouldn’t let any amount of snow fall on it. The AC fan runs in the winter whenever the heat pump runs. If the fan is full of snow and ice you can damage your unit.

You don’t have to go to any great crazy lengths to protect your equipment: Just be aware and put a piece of plywood over it when you shovel or rake the snow. When you’re done you can clean up the plywood, remove it from the AC, and put it back in the garage.

Don’t put snow on your vents.

You need to watch out for vents. If you cover a vent or a chimney cap with snow, your dryer, fireplace, or other appliance or fixture might stop working. If it’s a new appliance it will sense it is not venting correctly. Assuming the safety switches work they’ll simply shut themselves down, at which point you’ll be in for a service call and a repair bill.

If the safety switches don’t work, or if the appliance is longer in the tooth and doesn’t have any safety switches, then you risk increasing the carbon monoxide levels in your home. Carbon monoxide is deadly, of course, and unless you have a carbon monoxide detection unit you may risk the lives of everyone in the house.

Don’t put snow on your gas meter.

Every gas meter has a little vent hole on it. Plug that vent hole and the gas shuts off. Again, that’s a safety feature. But when the gas shuts off, the heat also shuts off. The best-case scenario here is you’ll come home to an empty house. The worst-case scenario is you’ll shovel your roof before you leave town, come home to a winter wonderland inside your house, and be out tens of thousands of dollars in repairs.

Just be careful.

Walk around the perimeter of your house before you begin removing snow. Know what’s there. Give some thought to how you’re going to protect every item from the initial impact of snow, from the weight of the pile, from more snow or rain, and from the eventual melting of the snow. Your walk-around will only take a few minutes, but it can save you time, money, and heartache.

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