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How to remove snow from the roof

Snow on the roof may look pretty, but too much can potentially cause structural damage.

A tool pulls snow down from a roof

How do you know if you have too much snow on the roof?

One cubic foot of fluffy, dry snow weighs about three pounds. The same amount of dense, wet snow can weigh as much as 21 pounds. While most roofs are built to withstand more than that, your roof may be under too much pressure if you see these signs:

  • Visible sagging along the roofline
  • Cracks in the ceiling or on the walls
  • Popping or creaking noises
  • Difficult-to-open doors and windows

As it melts excess snow can also lead to ice dams — melting snow refreezes and can damage your home's interior under the eave line.

How to safely clear your roof

Keep the following in mind:

  • Hire a professional. A person who does this work regularly should know the best techniques and likely be insured.
  • Never work alone. Always have someone with you in case you slip or have an emergency.
  • Clear the area. The ladder up to your roof should be positioned on solid ground. Also, make sure the rungs are clear of ice and snow before you climb.
  • Secure yourself. If possible, use a strap or belt to anchor yourself to something strong, like a chimney.
  • Avoid shingle damage. Stay away from picks, hammers, or other sharp tools to clear snow and ice.
  • Use the right tools. If you have a one-story or flat-roofed house, invest in a snow rake. These long-handled tools with plastic blades can help you gently pull snow from the edge of the roof line.

Always remember: If in doubt, call a roofing contractor. They have the proper harnesses, tools and footwear to do the job safely.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.



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