Q & A

Tips for ice and snow removal from homes

After two recent snowstorms closed the federal government and schools across the region, people began digging out. The season's snow tally in D.C. reached 55.6 inches Wednesday -- more than the last record of 54.4 inches, set in 1898-99.
Saturday, February 13, 2010

Some tips for residents dealing with the harmful effects of ice and snow on their homes:

Should I shovel my roof?

John Corley, vice president of Corley Roofing & Sheet Metal in Temple Hills, has been asked this question a lot in recent days. His typical answer? No.

"You can damage the roof by knocking a few holes in it," Corley said. "Then you'll have more problems than you had before."

In dire situations, where ice dams in gutters are forcing water to stream down interior walls, pull off your gutters or downspouts. "It's a last-ditch effort. If you have water pouring into the house all the way across the ceiling and walls, it's the only thing you can do."

What about a roof rake?

Roof rakes come in 16-foot lengths (some can be extended by five feet) and can be used to scrape the ice and snow. The process is demanding and can be dangerous. Experts say the key to removing snow from a roof is never to step on the roof. And be careful not to inadvertently puncture the roof.

Is there a right way to shovel?

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