Better To Clear Snow Off Roof Or Wait?

Another consideration of snow removal is, should you try to clear it off your roof or wait?

“It came clear out to here yesterday.” Jodi Fischer has a snow problem at 152nd and Charles. “We had some leakage going on in our kitchen, between our kitchen and our living room, and when my husband got up on the roof he could tell an ice jam was up there.”

So Jodi called Mick Goslin, who specializes in snow and ice removal. “It's not as bad as it can be.”

Two clues that snow on the roof is a problem are visible damage inside and excessive snow weight. A drift formed on Jodi's roof where it connects with another level.

“So can you get that ice out of there, too?”

“Somewhat, very carefully," said Goslin of Goslin Construction. "If we can't just lightly tap on it and pull it out by hand, we don't want to bang on it because the snow and ice gets locked around the shingle and if we break that snow off it breaks the shingle off.”

Goslin says in most cases, concern over snow on the roof is unnecessary. “Ninety percent of the homes in Omaha don't have a problem with snow on the roofs.”

Those trying to remove snow off the roof inadvertently cause more problems than they solve. “I've seen guys put metal auger snowblowers up there because they're trying to break through the ice,” said Goslin. “I've seen guys with hatchets breaking the ice. You really can go further with the damage.”

“The best way to clean a roof off if you really want it cleared off is a nice plastic roof rake. You rake the snow off the roof carefully. If it's not going to come off that's okay, you don't have to be right down to the shingles bare like you do with concrete for snow removal. We remove most of the snow, we limit the problem, limit the damage and then let Mother Nature take its course.”

Jodi knows her roof needs attention this spring, but is minimizing the damage now. “The joy of owning a home, so take it as it comes I guess.”

Another concern this time of year is icicles. That's usually an indication of ice jams on a roof and mainly a result of poor insulation. Icicles can also be caused by clogged gutters. Since we haven't had a cycle of melting and freezing patterns, if we can safely knock the icicles down it's a good idea to do so. That will alleviate a lot of weight on gutters.

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