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Must You Rake the Whole Roof When it Snows?

Roof-raking is one of the best ways to prevent ice dams, but how much is “good enough” to prevent ice dams?

In general, of course, you should get as much snow off of your roof as humanly possible. And if you’re a Minnesota homeowner you should just resign yourself to raking your roof about as often as you shovel your driveway.  Living here is worth the minor hassle.

But if you only have time to do a little, go around your house and remove snow from your overhangs, plus at least couple feet above the overhangs.  Be sure to clean out any valleys, too.

This won’t solve the problem completely.  There’s still snow up there that could melt, hit your overhangs, and refreeze into ice.  But there will be less of it, and it won’t be as close to the trouble spots areas.  Consider raking the overhangs and valleys to be the bare minimum.

Watching the forecast can be helpful here.  If you know the temperature will be above freezing for a few nights you may be able to get the worst of the snow off your overhangs in the morning and get on with your day without too much to worry about.

Usually, though, I recommend getting back out there to take even more snow off the roof.  Mother Nature is unpredictable.  Besides, I’ve seen ice dams form even with just a few inches of snow.  Any amount of snow can melt, any amount of melted snow can hit that cold overhang, and any amount of melted snow can become ice.

Keep in mind, too, that if the snow gets heavy or hardened while you’re gone you will won’t be able to remove it with a roof rake easily or at all.  At that point, you need someone up there with a shovel.  Don’t do it yourself: it’s extremely dangerous.  Call a roof snow removal pro to remove the snow, even if you don’t have an ice dam yet.

If you strongly suspect you won’t have time to rake the snow off the roof yourself, call a snow removal pro.  They’ll get all the snow off the roof, it won’t take them long, it won’t take any of your time, and it’s an easier check to write than for ice dam removal.

Roof-raking is like exercise.  It’s not always enjoyable, but you do it to avoid bigger problems later, and it’s easier to keep up with the more often you do it.

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