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SNOW REMOVAL: Snow Removal on your roof, Snow Removal on the ground

Snow Removal On Your Roof

Let’s start off by discussing the three cardinal rules of Removing Snow From a Roof:

1) NEVER attempt to Climb, Stand or Walk on the Roof

2) NEVER attempt to Climb, Stand or Walk on the Roof

3) NEVER attempt to Climb, Stand or Walk on the Roof

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s discuss removal tips:

  • If you have a flat roof that is easily reached from an interior stairway, you may want to shovel the roof. Remember to put safety first any time you are on a roof, especially one that is covered in snow and ice. If you have any doubt, leave it to the professionals.
  • If you have a sloped roof, it may be possible to remove the snow and ice using a roof rake, a long-handled tool designed specifically for this purpose. Stand on the ground and pull as much of the snow off the eaves as you can safely reach. It is not necessary to remove all the snow; removing the first three to four feet of snow closest to the gutters will help alleviate these issues.
  • Many homebuilders, landscaping and roofing contractors, and property maintenance companies will remove snow and ice from roofs. Before hiring a contractor, Aronson encourages you to check references. Always be sure your contractor is insured and bonded.

We do not recommend using a ladder in snowy and icy conditions. This can be extremely dangerous and is best left to professionals.

Roof Rakes: Use a roof rake to remove snow from the roof. This action will help slow down an “ice dam’s” growth. Roof rakes work best if the snow is light and less crusty. Using a roof rake while standing on a ladder can be dangerous. Use caution.

Don’t wait till the hardware store is sold out, get one before it’s too late!  They are most generally available at your local hardware store but you can also order them online (like here)

Snow Removal (on the ground) Tips:

Tips to prevent injuries while shoveling and using a snow blower:

• Check with your doctor. Because this activity places high stress on the heart, speak with your physician first.  If you have a medical condition or do not exercise regularly, consider hiring someone to remove the snow.

• Dress appropriately. Light, layered, water-repellent clothing provides both ventilation and insulation. It also is important to wear the appropriate head coverings, as well as mittens or gloves and thick, warm socks. Take a break if you feel yourself getting too hot or too cold.

• See what you are shoveling/snow blowing. Make sure your hat or scarf does not block your vision. Watch for ice patches and uneven surfaces. Avoid falls by wearing shoes or boots that have slip-resistant soles.

• Clear snow early and often. Begin when a light covering of snow is on the ground to avoid trying to clear packed, heavy snow.

When shoveling:

• Warm up your muscles. Shoveling can be vigorous activity. Before you begin, warm up your muscles for 10 minutes with light exercise.

• Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks and replenish fluids to prevent dehydration. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or other signs of a heart attack, seek immediate emergency care.

• Use a shovel that is comfortable for your height and strength. Do not use a shovel that is too heavy or too long.  Consider buying a shovel specially designed to prevent too much stooping. Space your hands on the tool grip to increase your leverage.

• When possible, push the snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift, take small amounts of snow, and lift it with your legs: Squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Lift by straightening your legs, without bending at the waist. Then walk to where you want to dump the snow; holding a shovel of snow with your arms outstretched puts too much weight on your spine.

• Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side. This requires a twisting motion that stresses your back.

When snow blowing:

• Never stick your hands or feet in the snow blower. If snow becomes too impacted, stop the engine and wait at least five seconds before using a solid object to clear wet snow or debris from the chute. Beware of the motor and blades’ recoil after the machine has been turned off.

• Do not leave the snow blower unattended when it is running. Shut off the engine if you must walk away from the machine.

• Watch the snow blower cord. If you are operating an electric snow blower, be aware of where the power cord is at all times, so you do not trip and fall.

• Add fuel before starting the snow blower. Never add fuel when the engine is running or hot. Do not operate the machine is an enclosed area.

• Read the instruction manual. Prior to using a snow blower, read the instruction manual for specific safety hazards, unfamiliar features, and whenever attempting to repair or maintain the snow blower.