As the winter storms begin to hit, one important thing to keep in mind is the effect heavy snow may have on your roof.

Here are a few tips to make sure that doesn't happen to you.
When snow is fresh, it is at its lightest state. But as sun begins to melt, the snow gets heavy. Given that water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon, a roof collapse becomes far more likely.
Most of the time a little sunshine and above freezing temperatures are all you need to avoid a roof collapse. But if you want to speed up the process, a sloped roof can usually be cleared from the ground. Just make sure you use the right tools. Avoid metal tools, which can catch on and damage asphalt shingles. Snow cutters or snow rakes are specially designed for roof snow removal. They have a blade, or cutter, attached to a long pole that can be used from the ground.
If you have a flat roof, take extreme caution climbing onto it to remove snow. It might be a good idea to call a pro for the job. If you must, make sure you have help on the ground and watch your step! The danger of serious injury, or even death, is always a risk when working at heights. Add snow or ice on the roof to the mix and one wrong move could send you over the edge before you have a chance to do anything about it.

If you are lucky enough to have a metal roof, you have a self-cleaning roof system! As soon as the temperatures climb a little and the roof warms up, the snow will slide right off.

Keep in mind that if your doors or windows don't seem to be working right, if you spot a roof leak or if you notice deflection of ceiling finishes or exposed beams, you may have a roof failure or potential roof collapse. In this case, call your homeowners insurance company or a structural engineer for advice. But remember, most of the time, you can avoid a roof collapse from heavy snow by having good roof drainage and above freezing temperatures.
Roof rakes can be used to safely remove snow from a roof before it gets wet and heavy.
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