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I am interested in removing snow from one-storey buildings or higher. Buildings which do not have flat roofs. This is needed because of several reasons:

  • When the snow become much it can accidentally fall making an avalanche which may hurt someone.
  • Another problem is the appearance of icicles and people tell me about something called ice dam.
  • In some cases much snow can damage the roof, too.

So removing it on time can save many problems.

  • Since the question is how to remove snow, not whether to remove, I won't give an answer. But there is no need to remove snow unless there is danger of roof collapse. Ice dams do not form unless the roof does not have sufficient slope. Allowing the snow to stay on the roof provides additional insulation, especially when temps get closer to zero. – subjectivist Jan 28 '15 at 1:18
  • @dmcdivitt the main reason I want to remove the snow is because it can be very dangerous if it is frozen and falls on someones head. It actually can kill somebody – vladiz Jan 28 '15 at 7:54
  • Snow falls all over the world every year. A roof should be made to support the weight. If not it is a structural issue and should be fixed. As for falling on people's head, this is rarely the case. It melts and runs off. – subjectivist Jan 28 '15 at 15:59
  • @dmcdivitt actually it happens often. I know several people who were injured by falling ice – vladiz Jan 28 '15 at 18:09
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    Where I live we get lots of snow every winter. The roof is strong enough to take the load (that's what building regulations are about). To stop snow sliding off the roof and flattening passers-by we have a little fence attached to the roof. If you google Schneefanggitter you can see lots of examples. – RedSonja Feb 25 '15 at 9:50
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For a pitched roof, a snow rake should be sufficient. Though Amazon offers one for ~US$50, http://www.amazon.com/Garelick-89421-21-Foot-Aluminum-24-Inch/dp/B0000BYCD5/, you could devise something as effective for less; the picture in the ad should help. Instructables has directions, http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Snow-Ripper-Rip-snow-from-your-roof-in-minut/.

Climbing a ladder in snow is risky, and there is increased risk of electrocution from gutter defrosters, lights and other snow-covered wires. It might be necessary for a flat roof, but not for a peaked one (unless you live on Hurricane Ridge or Mount Rainier, which can get 20 m of snow. :-)

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    Cheaper alternative to the Instructable posted above: once you have a suitably long pipe/pole/handle, take any old board and drill a large hole near the center to fit the pipe through. Then drill a smaller hole sideways through the pipe near one end, and fit the two together. Tie them together with whatever's handy: twine, paracord, zip ties, whatever. DONE! – RobotZombieLord Feb 25 '15 at 22:29
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"Avalanche" makes a roof rake with a slide attached to it to eliminate the need to pull the snow off–you simply push the tool under the snow, and gravity takes care of the rest. You could certainly devise a DIY version of this using some sheet metal and plastic sheeting as shown in this gif:

https://i.imgur.com/pvqyEhi.gifv

  • It might be better if you gave a more in-depth explanation of how to make what you are describing in this. – michaelpri Nov 14 '15 at 16:29
  • @michaelpri Thanks for the feedback. I mentioned materials and even included a link to an animation to show how it works. This is at least equal to the highest voted answer on this question. Can you give an example of the additional depth you'd suggest? – adamdport Nov 15 '15 at 0:01
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Ladder and shovel is the only way. It is dangerous especially on a pitched roof. Do not attempt to wash it off, especially if you are worried about structural problems, the snow will absorb and freeze a lot of water adding a lot of weight before any snow is removed.

Look at your weather forecast, if it is going to be warming up above freezing a lot of the snow will be melting rather quickly.

Ice dams can be a problem, but they are not an immediate problem, they just put a lot of wear and tear on your roof over the years. If you are worried about ice dams clean the snow off your over hangs to minimize the problem. Some ice dams around vents can cause leaks, that only leak in the winter, those are a problem that need to be addressed in the summer time after the snow is gone by an expert, I suggest calling a pro or search in the DIY SE for a solution.

At any rate your problem is one of weighing the risks of getting up on the slippery roof against the risk of structural failure or injury from snow falling off the roof.

If you have enough room around the building you could devise a small plow on a long handle and pull the snow down. This will be easy on new snow fall that is rather light and fluffy, older snow falls that have packed down and become crusty may not be so easy.

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