RICHMOND, Va. — With more than a foot of snow on ground across Central Virginia, the roads will continue to be a mess. But there is another snow hazard you might not recognize immediately. The weight of the snow on your roof.
“One square foot of snow accumulation on a roof can weigh as much as 21 pounds per square foot. On a one thousand square foot house this can be as much as 12 tons of extra weight,” Henrico Fire Lt. Danny Rosenbaum said.
Some warning signs that a roof may be stressed:
- Sagging structural members of the home
- Popping or cracking sounds heard
- Doors that will no longer open
- Newly appearing cracks in walls
If you see or hear these warning signs, call a professional structural engineer. If the roof damage is significant — get out the house and call 911, Rosenbaum said.
Since snow removal from a roof is dangerous and should only be done by a licensed roofing professional, here is what you can do around your house to help prevent roof damage.
- While clearing snow from walks and driveways, make sure to clear snow from around the downspouts and drains so snow can melt and flow away from the house.
- From the ground, clear gutters with long handled brush. Watch for falling ice, snow, or icicles.
- Remember to clear snow away from dryer vents so they can function properly and not become a fire hazard themselves.