HOUGHTON COUNTY – Winter in the U.P. means lots of snow. Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center said the area got 118  inches so far. That’s about average for this part of the U.P. During a record winter, Keweenaw County itself has seen 222.5 inches of snow. But, if you do the math, 118 inches is nearly 10 feet of snow. And where does that build up? On building roofs. Thick snow accumulation can cause a number of issues including roof collapse and expensive repairs.

“Typically people start looking at removing snow at about 120 to 150 inches, and that depends on their structure. But that’s a good time to start. The other thing is getting it off before we have these warm spells. Not so much just the heaviness of it, but it gets much more difficult to remove. It starts getting a cement like quality, and it’s much harder to remove at that point.” – Dan Riutta, Owner of Dan Riutta Contracting

Ice can also cause issues during the winter.  Snow that melts and then refreezes can also cause ice dams. Too much ice in areas of the roof like gutters could expand and possibly cause damage to the end of the roof.

“If you have icicles coming out of your siding or coming out of you soffit. If it’s actually coming down the side of the wall, that’s a sign that it may soon start leaking. It’s already leaking under the shingles, partially, but it can start leaking inside the wall. And then the third stage of that, you can say, is where you see leaks, at the ceiling, at the top of the wall, where the wall meets the ceiling. You might see dripping or drippings in the windows. And then you know that it’s getting more into the house.” – Dan Riutta

If you are clearing that snow off a single story roof yourself, tools like a snow rake and some roof melt make the process easier and safer. For two or more stories or for roofs with steep pitches, it might be best to call in a pro.

Check online or with people you know to find a licensed contractor to remove snow from your roof. Angi’s List a great resource as well to find licensed contractors in your area. Yahoo! article on roof snow removal tools. AAA article on ice dams. Techlifetoday article about preventing roof snow build up.