If you live in Wisconsin and don’t shovel your roof after a snowfall, you might have to pay for some serious consequences. You could get water damage in the roof, ceiling, walls, or even the interior of your home. Even worse, your roof could cave in from the weight of backed-up of snow, ice, and/or water (called an ice dam).

What’s an Ice Dam?

An ice dam is a large chunk of ice that forms along gutters and in valleys of roofs. Ice dams prevent any melting snow from draining off the roof. In short, ice dams form because of poor attic ventilation. The heat from inside the house warms parts of the roof causing snow to melt. The water then runs down the roof until it hits a spot of the roof that isn’t warm and freezes. As this continues, a large ridge forms and keeps forming until it’s a massive chunk of ice. This is what causes you serious problems.

The one way to prevent ice dams from forming other than getting your attic properly ventilated? Shovel your roof!

When is it Necessary to Shovel My Roof?

A good rule of thumb is to shovel as much of your roof as possible every half-foot of snowfall or so. Roofs are built with specific requirements to hold lots of weight. However, neglected shoveling can lead to ice dams, and ice is seriously heavy. For example, one inch of snow weighs about one pound per square foot. One inch of ice, on the other hand, weighs about five pounds per square foot. That means your roof can only hold a handful of inches of ice before it’s at serious risk.

How Do I Shovel My Roof?

Technically, you should not shovel your own roof. It’s extremely dangerous. There are professional services that can do this for you. They have experienced and insured workers who know what they’re doing up there. You should rake your roof. A roof rake is basically a big claw on a stick that can reach up to your roof and rake the snow off. You may not be able to get every last bit of snow, but making this a routine is a very good way to make sure no ice dams form. It’s especially important to rake your roof around overhangs and gutters where the roof is most vulnerable and susceptible to ice dams.

NOTE: Roof raking can be a rigorous activity, much harder than simply shoveling a sidewalk. Always be careful when roof raking and never compromise your personal safety just to get the job done.

Overall, ice dams can cause you some serious problems if a preventative method or outright removal is not done in a timely manner. Roof raking is one method to reduce the risk of ice dams forming on your roof. Another is to hire a snow removal service to shovel your roof for you, since shoveling your own roof can be very dangerous. Another way to mitigate ice dams is to just have a properly vented attic that does not heat the roof. The experts at Community Roofing and Restoration would be happy to take a look at your roof and attic to assess your current situation. Don’t hesitate to contact us today if you have had problems with ice dams in the past and want to get rid of the problem at the source!