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How to Safely Clear Snow off the Roof

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"How to Safely Clear Snow off the Roof"
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Snow Shoveling of the Roof

If you own your own home where it snows, snow shoveling is a must. Some winters, you will even have to shovel the snow of your roof. In the Canadian St. Lawrence valley, you can expect to clear the snow off at least every second year. You should also do it before the big Christmas/New Years thaw.

The holiday thaw is what brings the ice storms, the freezing rains, the rains, or heavy wet snow into town. Rain or freezing rain on already a heavy burden of snow can force in a roof. Or it can cause serious structural damage.

Have a plan
Determine where you are going to dump your roof top snow. You don't want to shovel the same snow twice. If you have the room, do not dump your snow on the driveway for instance. Do not dump near things like the electrical lines, the propane tank, the heat pump, or your favorite tree.

Hydration and energy
When shoveling, you have to take care of yourself. Shoveling will work your muscles, which may become sore the days following. Regulating your loads, your motion movements, and keep your hydration levels constant could go a long way to making your job easier. It could also help your body cope better during and after your job.

You will need a good breakfast before you begin as you will expend a lot of energy during shoveling. I like a good hot grain cereal to get me started on the weekends. First of all I have the time for it and it speaks so much of a winter weekend.

Just as importantly, the state of your mind must be prepared. If your mind is cluttered with other concerns, you could be setting up yourself for a bad or dangerous experience. Dress warmly but keep in mind that you will produce a lot of heat and could end up sweating. If you do, even just changing t-shirts during snack and toilet breaks will save you from developing a cold or the flu. Warm boots with a good footing are very important, especially for the slanted roofs.

Flat roof
The great thing about the flat roofs it that they are level and easy to work on. The bad thing about flat roofs is that they are level and easily accumulate snow. Watch out for things like electrical or phone lines. It is easy to push snow on the roof to a dumping point. If you have a flat roof, plan to clear it off at least once a year. If you don't have to, then consider it a bonus for being good.

Slanted roof
Slanted roofs are a much greater challenge. Steep roofs can really be challenging. I use to have a smaller house and the roof was steep. I used a safety line as a precaution. Tie the end of the rope to the chimney and tie the other end around you under your arm pits. That is they strongest part of you.

You can also secure the security line to the snow you will eventually clear off provided there is a crust or provided that you pack down the snow over the 2x4. Your security line should be at least 30 feet long. It should also be short enough to break your fall should you fall of the roof.

Proceed to clear off the snow, keeping in mind where you are dumping the snow onto. The snow around the edges of the roof is best just dumped down but you will want to direct most of the snow to a pile. Be careful with ladders as you climb and down. It will become even more difficult as you get tired. You will have to take water and other breaks, so going up and down the ladders will be necessary. For your safety, be careful as opposed to quick. Even doing small shovel loads can mean the difference between a job well done or taking an unfortunate fall.

Shoveling the roof can become a necessity, just don't make it a hazard to yourself.

More about this author: Jobie Weetaluktuk

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