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Better Business Bureau ®
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Central & Western Massachusetts and Northeastern Connecticut
Be Cautious of Accumulated Snow on Rooftops
February 14, 2013

As winter rolls on and the snow banks continue to rise don’t forget about snow pile-up on rooftops. The Better Business Bureau of Central New England reminds homeowners and business owners to clear off rooftops to avoid collapse and serious structural damage. This is an even greater risk for people with homes or businesses with flat top roofs. It is important to remember to remove the accumulated snow regularly and be careful when sending anyone out to clear it.


Better Business Bureau of Central New England recommends consumers follow these tips to stay safe this winter:


Always send a trained individual on to the roof. Snow removal should always be done by an experienced and knowledgeable professional. Rooftops, like sidewalks, can become very slippery, there is always the risk of a fall or injury. There is also a risk of being exposed to electrical wires, which can pose a danger to anyone not familiar with working around them. The safest option is to hire a licensed contractor, check out Better Business Bureau reviews online before hiring someone. Some offers and solicitations may not be legitimate, especially after a big storm. Make sure contractors have proper licensing and insurance certificates and sign a contract to help protect yourself and guarantee you get the services you pay for.  Be prepared with a backup plan in case contractors are unable to or do not provide service as quickly or effectively as you require. Don’t rush into any agreement, shop around to find a price that’s fair for your budget and a trustworthy contractor.


Use a roof rake. Some rooftops may be low enough, that while standing on the ground, you can use a roof rake to pull the snow down. But always be cautious and avoid using a roof rake near any electrical wiring.


Use a plastic shovel. Plastic shovels are less likely to cause damage than a metal shovels. Shovels can cause damage to the roofs membrane, it is important not use too much force when lifting snow from the roof.


Always be aware of you buildings integrity. Keep up with preventative maintenance, including the roof. Each year, make sure you identify any areas that may be of high-risk for collapse due to snow or other forces of nature. Any large flat roof, any area that had previous damage and any area out of direct sunlight where snow can freeze are areas at a high-risk of collapse or damage. If you notice deflected ceilings, windows and doors that seem to be operating differently, sprinkler heads moved, or roof leaks, it could be a sign of roof damage, be sure to have it checked out by a professional.