Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint: How To Survive ANY Disaster
There are many potential dangers associated with winter weather, but there’s one you might not have given much thought to: snow and ice on your home’s roof.
It is unclear how many deaths per year are caused by snow accumulations on roofs, but nearly every winter, there are reports of such deaths that appear in the news.
Roof collapse is a possible risk when snow accumulates on your roof, but it isn’t the only danger. In 2018, a chunk of snow about the size of a trailer fell from a roof and killed a mother and her 7-year-old son in Northern California. And, snow removal in itself carries the risk of injury and even death.
Here’s how to assess how much snow your roof can handle, how to determine if you need to remove snow, how to remove it safely, and the unique dangers that thawing ice and snow pose.
How much snow can your roof handle?
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), unless your roof is damaged or decayed, it should be able to support 20 lb per square foot of snow before it becomes stressed.
These guidelines from IBHS can help you estimate how much snow is on your roof:
Fresh snow: 10–12 inches of new snow is equal to one inch of water, or about 5 lb per square foot of roof space, so you could have up to 4 feet of new snow before the roof will become stressed.
Packed snow: 3–5 inches of old snow is equal to one inch of water, or about 5 lb per square foot of roof space, so anything more than
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