1. Clear the snow off your roof and out of gutters whenever it snows. The snow melts and causes ice dams.
2. If you already have an ice dam you can hire a professional contractor to remove the ice dam or mitigate the issues of the ice dam by carving notches to allow water to move off the roof.
3. We either use steam trucks (typically in commercial and industrial settings) to remove the ice or our roofing crews will simply remove what ice they can from homeowner's roofs.
4. If you hire a contractor to remove the snow from your roof be sure the contractor has at least two million in liability insurance (preferably five million), is WCB registered and in good standing, that their crews have fall arrest tickets / certification, and that the workers use their fall arrest equipment.
5. If you have a large span commercial, industrial, or farm building there is no choice but to remove the snow regularly to avoid collapse.
6. If you are removing snow from a large roof be sure to have the process approved by an engineer prior to moving the weight on the roof to avoid collapse.
7. If you have a residential roof that is sloped (high pitch) it is unlikely snow loads will cause collapse.
8. Heat trace wire can be an effective preventative maintenance practice for snow and ice in gutters.
9. Do not use ice socks with salts etc to remove ice.
10. Be careful to move snow away from the foundation of your home when removed from your roof.
More Roof Snow Removal and Ice Dam Removal advise is available on this blog, simply type in the search by at the top right what you would like to search.
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General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)'s insight:
Edmonton Roof Ice Dams - General Roofing Systems has been inundated with calls this year to clear snow off roofs to prevent ice damming and roof cave-ins, said Curtis Johnson, the company’s western regional project manager.
“It’s been the second most busy year that we can recall,” Johnson said.
The busiest year was 2010-11, when snow buildup caused a series of roof cave-ins, including at the Northgate Lions Seniors Recreation Centre in Edmonton where a seniors’ choir was rehearsing.
Most at risk of collapse are large, flat roofs and metal roofs, such as those on agricultural and commercial buildings, Johnson said.
“A lot of people think because the melt is on that they’re out of the woods, but the reality is it gets heavier as the melt happens,” Johnson said.
“In Alberta this year, we’ve seen five or six significant collapses. More than that, what the ice is doing is destroying roofs. For close to three weeks, our guys have been working around the clock. (Friday) night was actually one of the worst nights for ice-damming calls through the night, where the ice dams just literally open up flat roof membranes.”
In Drayton Valley, another area Johnson said has been particularly bad this year, part of the curling rink roof collapsed early Friday afternoon. Investigators are still working to determine what caused the cave in.
Snow buildup coupled with freezing and thawing causes ice to build up on roofs, leading to a “glacier effect” that can damage the roof and cause flooding, Johnson said. The situation will get worse if we get more snow, he added.
Residents should keep roofs and gutters clear of ice and snow to protect their homes from damage that can cost tens of thousands of dollars, Johnson said.
In Bracebridge, residents are being told that if they are shovelling the snow off their roof, they should do so with care and safety so as not to damage any wires attached to the buildings by pushing snow off the edges.
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