Winters in Pittsburgh mean snow.  Sometimes that snow can be very wet and heavy, which is dangerous for your roof.  ​It can be difficult to know if the snow on your roof should be removed.  Consider the age of the roof, the home structure, and the condition it is in.   If the snow on the ground is heavy when lifted with a shovel, you can be sure that the snow on the roof is also heavy.  Watch weather and news reports.  Often they will mention if recent weather could cause roof collapses.  Look inside your house.  Do the interior doors stick or did the drywall crack around the door frame?  These could be signs of extra weight on the roof, especially if you see these signs on the top floor.

What should you do?  Check the weather forecast.  If warm weather is coming, the snow will melt on its own.  If not, you should remove the snow to prevent damage and ice dams from forming.  Ice dams are a build-up of ice along the edges of the roof that prevents water from properly running off the roof.  This can cause water to seep inside instead.

There are two ways to remove excess snow from the roof.  The safest way is to hire a professional. They have the knowledge to remove snow without damaging the roof and the equipment to do it safely.  If your roof is lower and you can reach it from the ground with a long-handled rake, you can try to do it yourself.  Many home improvement stores carry special snow removal rakes for this purpose.  They are still difficult to work with on very heavy snow.  Be careful not to stand directly under where the snow will fall from the roof.  You should start at the bottom with the overhangs and work your way up going about a foot at a time.  Be sure to watch for dangers such as power lines hanging near the roof.  Remember the goal is to remove the excess snow, not all of the snow.

If you need to get on the roof and shovel the snow to remove it, it is best to hire a professional.

When the winter snow comes, consider the effect it has on your roof and take the necessary steps to protect your investment.