Using the wrong tools to remove snow from the roof can cause leaks.
Using the wrong tools to remove snow from the roof can cause leaks.

A heavy accumulation of snow on the roof may prompt a homeowner to call for help. Removing the snow certainly lowers structural loads, but using the wrong tools or techniques can damage roofing and cause leaks and additional damage. The Snow Load Safety Guide, published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, offers a number of tips. Among them: don't use mechanical snow removal equipment, or sharp tools such as metal picks or shovels. Remove drifted snow around parapets and rooftop equipment first, don't stockpile snow on the roof, and work your way down from the ridge toward the eave whenever possible. To avoid damaging the roof, use a plastic rake. And it's best, the guide adds, to leave a little snow on the roof.

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