A roof rake is an aluminum hoe that spans an average of 20 feet in length. The rakes are used to reduce the amount of ice that forms on a roof. It is important to get rid of excess snow piled on your roof because too much can cause structural damage. Removing it can remove the structural load on your roof and help prevent ice dams from forming.
It can be physically demanding to use a roof rake which is why it is important to put safety first. Before you begin using a roof rake, you want to inspect your roof or hire a professional to do so, that way you can prevent a loose shingle or piece of flash from falling off. It is best to inspect early, before the snow starts falling. The best time is the end of summer or beginning of fall, right after leaf clearing season is complete. You want to inspect for shingles that may be curled, cracked, or loose. You also want to look for flashing that is protruding, easily susceptible to being snagged or hooked accidentally by the roof rake. You should double check that the gutter is not too loose.
As you are using the roof rake to clear the snow and ice, be cautious around icicles. The bigger the icicle is, the harder it will hit the ground. While it may only seem like water, these icicles can cause damage if they hit you. You can accidentally knock one off the roof when using a roof rake and it will fall to the ground hard and fast. One cubic foot of ice is sixty two pounds, which makes it quite heavy. Before you start removing the ice and snow from your roof, you should take precautions to protect any garden or plants you have. If you remove some ice or a lump of snow and it falls right on your plants, it can split them in half, effectively killing them. This is bound to happen at some point or another, especially if your plants are directly beneath your roof. You can take measures to avoid it by removing snow in very small sections or covering the planted area with a piece of wood.
Remember that a steep roof pitch will cause the snow to come off quickly. The steeper it is, the faster the snow will come bounding off your roof and right at your face. Be careful. A clump of snow hitting you at high speed in the face can be quite humorous, but it can also be dangerous. Lastly, be on the lookout for power lines. You don’t want to accidentally hit one of your power lines overhead so make sure you know where they are at all times so that you can avoid an accidental brush with danger. As with all things, make sure that you have the necessary protective gear and are dressed in layers before you head out into the snow and start to tackle the buildup of ice and snow.