Before implementing a roof snow removal plan, building owners should evaluate the need for one. The need to take action depends on the nature of the property and the potential snow load. In some cases, roof snow removal may not be necessary, but it is still important to have a plan in place in a snowstorm. Listed below are the steps to avoid ice dams and snow damage.
Preparing for roof snow removal
Roof snow removal can be an expensive and dangerous venture. A roof collapsing under heavy snow can result in significant building damage, lost productivity, and even serious injury to employees. It’s also much different than shoveling sidewalks. Sending maintenance workers up to the roof to dig out the snow is risky, which could land you in legal trouble. In addition, the safety rules of OSHA and fall protection regulations are very different from snow removal.
Before you begin your roof snow removal plans, remember to assess the weight of the snow. The weight of snow on the roof depends on the density. Generally, if the snow is less than a foot deep, the process will be easier. However, clearing the roof may become very difficult once it’s more than a foot deep. For this reason, it’s a good idea to start early. As long as you have adequate snow removal equipment, you should be ready for a snowy winter.
Another aspect of roof snow removal is the removal of snow drifts. Drifts are particularly hazardous as they take longer to drain away and increase the likelihood of additional snow loading on the roof. The safest method to remove snow is to hire qualified contractors with adequate experience and training. Make sure you ask for their Certificates of Insurance to ensure they carry adequate coverage. Lastly, hire a qualified roofing contractor who has a safety training agreement.
Design snow load criteria
Design snow load criteria for roof snow removal plans should be based on current editions of ASCE 7. In recent years, knowledge about snow loads has improved. These calculations determine the weight that a roof can safely support. In addition to these calculations, a qualified structural engineer should develop a change management plan based on the latest edition of ASCE 7.
In the United States, design snow loads range from 20 pounds per square foot (PSF) to 70 pounds per cubic foot. This number is based on the weight of fresh snow and partially thawed and frozen snow but can vary widely depending on the location. For older buildings, the structural engineer may be necessary to determine the in-place capacity of structural elements. Then, they can determine an acceptable snow load. This load could be as much as fifty percent of the design snow load. The plan could be developed to remove snow from roofs once actual weights exceed the safe load.
Roof snow removal should be undertaken with care. It is important to compare the actual snow load with the design snow load to determine if the actual load is too great. If the snow load is higher, the snow removal process should be halted. Developing a roof snow removal plan is crucial in protecting a building’s assets and occupants from potential collapse risks.
Precautions to avoid ice dams
The first step in preventing ice dams is to clean your gutters. A dam is formed when melted snow does not drain properly into your gutters. It can lead to many water damage problems, including a ruined roof and damp walls and ceilings. The moisture from an ice dam can also lead to mold and mildew growth, contributing to respiratory problems. Consequently, you must clean the interior of your home thoroughly before initiating roof snow removal plans.
Before beginning any snow removal plans, it’s essential to clear gutters. It means removing any debris from the gutters. Also, use de-icing cables to melt any ice on the roof. These cables melt the ice at the eaves to create drainage channels. If a roof is experiencing severe leaks, check for bent metal purlins or bent wood supports. Ponding water can also indicate that a damaged membrane is the culprit.
Moreover, a poorly-insulated house can lead to ice dams. Older homes may not be equipped with enough insulation or single-pane glass windows. Upgrade to double-pane windows and insulated doors to increase the efficiency of your home. Besides the ice and snow accumulation on the roof, ice dams can cause expensive damage to your home if left untreated. Moreover, it would be best to clean gutters of all debris and other accumulated snow and ice.