It is generally always a good idea to remove all the snow from a roof no matter what, however there are cases when removing all the snow is not necessary. Here will we will discuss, “when is it OK to leave snow on the roof?” For the ice dam removal experts it is fairly easy to determine if it is late enough in the season to simply remove the ice dams and leave the snow on the roof, or, if all the snow must be removed.
If it’s early in the winter season like Oct. Nov, Dec or January it is always recommended to remove all the snow and all the ice dams from the roof. If the ice dams are being removed late in the season like late February, March or April it is generally okay to leave the snow on the roof because the number of days needed to reform an ice dam are to few. However it is very important to consider certain things when making a decision to remove some or all of the snow from your roof.
Things to consider:
1) A second ice dam could form: If snow is only removed part way up the roof it is possible that a second ice dam could form. This ice dam is more dangerous than a lower one because it will give you no warning signs! The water leaking through the ceiling will be your first sign. Typically with ice dams on the eves you have some type of warning signs like icicles through the soffit etc.
2) Trapping poisonous gasses and heat: If the depth of the snow is great and is covering the roof vents or pipes it is critical to uncover them so the roof vents and pipes can function properly. Many people have died because poisonous gasses could not leave the building such as carbon monoxide! Uncovering the heat vents will allow the roof to breathe naturally and remain cool thus lessening the chance for ice dams.
3) Roof collapse: If you have multiple layers of roofing such as 2 or more layers of shingles the additional snow load the roof can handle will be less and this should always be factored into the decision when considering how much weight is on your roof. One bundle of shingles weighs 80 pounds! Flat roofs are equally as dangerous when multiple roofs are installed.
If the weight or depth of the snow is a concern remove it all no matter what month it is! Roof collapses and deadly and CO2 gasses are no joke!
When experts want to leave the snow on your roof early in the season and just steam the edges it is very possible that you will get another ice dam to form soon after the first steaming. The snow is the enemy, so removing it all will eliminate ice from forming. That is, until the next snowfall.
If you need to hire a professional company to remove the snow and ice dams from your roof please consider hiring our members before non members to ensure a damage free snow and ice dam removal experience. For questions or for help locating our members please contact us. We will respond QUICKLY! Our IDSAFE members use only low pressure steamers.