Tips for safe rooftop snow removal

As winter’s white blanket covers the ground, be aware that removing snow from your roof can be hazardous. Stay safe!

Snow is often considered the number one enemy of Quebec roofs. Even if they are designed to withstand our harsh winters, snow removal is sometimes necessary to avoid collapse and water infiltration. Be aware that ice and drastic temperature fluctuations are also a danger. Not to mention that the snow accumulated on a sloped roof is a risk for passers-by and vehicles circulating around the building. Being careful may avoid disaster, so don’t take any shortcuts—better safe than sorry! 

When should you remove snow from your roof?

Obviously, there is no need to launch a snow-removal operation in November when the first snowflake flies in. However, it is important to keep an eye out for early warning signs.

  • As soon as two feet of snow has accumulated on the roof;
  • As soon as you notice the appearance of ice accumulation on the rooftop or near the roof’s edge.

Other signs can alert you that immediate action is needed. Act fast before it is too late.

  • If you notice any spots or warps on the walls or ceilings;
  • If your interior doors rub against their frames;
  • If you hear cracking or other unusual noises.

Your home may be sending out “calls for help”. This is a sure-fire sign that the snow on your roof is too heavy.

Quick tip: schedule reminders on your calendar at the start of winter to carry out regular inspections of your roof. 

How to safely remove snow from your roof

First and foremost, as suggested by the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (available in French only) , show prudence and call a professional for snow removal. Especially if you have a sloped roof. Don’t risk falling or hurting yourself!

Whether your roof is sloped or flat, easily accessible (like a rooftop terrace) or not, let snow removal professionals get the job done right and protect you, passers-by and vehicles from accidents. Snow removal companies use appropriate techniques and are equipped to work safely. 

Some might be tempted to do it themselves with a special shovel for roofs fitted with a telescopic handle to remove the snow from the ground level. Please keep in mind that the removal of snow from a roof is a hazardous operation.

Car shelters, stairs, balconies, doors and windows

Your roof is not the only place that needs to be cleared of snow in winter. Don’t neglect the rest of your home. It is important to always clear up and de-ice your stairs, balconies, doors and windows in order to make passageways and exits safely accessible at all times. The ministère de la Sécurité publique (Quebec Ministry of Public Security) provides advice on how to keep all exits clear 

Do not clear the roof of your car shelter while standing inside it: if a collapse occurred, you would suddenly become buried under both snow and structure. If you use gas-powered apparatus or appliances, make sure you always keep access to the storage tank free of snow and ice.

Are you covered by your home insurance in the event of a problem?

In the event of a problem related to snow or other weather conditions, make sure your home insurance protects you adequately. Contact your AccèsConseil broker for more information.

Special collaboration with Nathalie Brochu, Assistant manager business insurance, General insurance broker at AccèsConseil.