by Ned Stoller Ned Stoller

Wintertime brings many challenges for those of us who are disabled to some extent or another.  Simple home maintenance (which already can be difficult) can prove to be even more of a challenge during the wintertime, especially outdoor home maintenance.  From snow to ice to bitter winds, winter can be hard on our houses.

 To keep our houses in good condition, one of the most important things we can do to maintain our home in the wintertime is the prevention of roof damage from snow.  Experts advise a roof full of snow can cause various problems, from weight problems causing roof collapse to the creation of ice dams, which allow ice to creep up under the shingles and cause water damage to the roof and interior of the house.

Proper roof design and insulation can help minimize the ice dam problem, but many houses still have problems with them every year.  These can be difficult or impossible to remove without climbing on ladders and chipping away (not advisable – an easy way to either fall or damage your roof) or hiring a service to steam it off.   Prevention is the key, and removing the snow build up is the first step in preventing an ice dam from forming.

Man raking snow off his roof from the ground level.

You cannot always count on the snow sliding off, either.  Shingled roofs, buildings with a flat roof or one with a low pitch are especially at risk.  Any roof with a pitch of 3/12 or less is especially at risk.  During one snowstorm in February of 2011, over 140 roof collapses were recorded in the northeast US.

Snow scrapers (also know as roof rakes or snow rakes) are used to pull the snow down off of the roof without having to climb a ladder, a dangerous (or impossible) proposition at any time, much less during the winter.   Poles extend to reach upwards of fifteen feet (or more) which allow the user to remove snow.  Most snow scrapers rest on two skids to prevent roof damage to shingles while dragging the snow off.  Make sure you use extreme caution when working near electrical lines.

Keep up the good work with all of this and you will help the long term survival of your roof,

and of your pocketbook!