Winter in New England puts our homes to the test, especially when it comes to roof maintenance. While a snowy roof can look harmless, it brings its own set of challenges and questions for homeowners. The most pressing is whether or not to remove snow from your roof. It’s not just about keeping your home looking good; it’s about preventing potential damage. Heavy snowfall can strain your roof, and ignoring it could lead to issues like leaks or structural damage.

This blog will offer straightforward advice on managing snow on your roof, including tips for homes with solar panels and advice on keeping sheds and garages safe. Whether you’re thinking about grabbing a shovel or calling in the pros for help with your commercial or TPO roofing, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into how to keep your home safe and sound this winter.

What We’ll Cover:

The Risks of Heavy Snow Accumulation

When winter really hits in New England, it doesn’t hold back. Snow piles up quickly, and while it makes for great skiing, it can spell trouble for your roof. Understanding the risks of heavy snow accumulation is key to keeping your home safe through the frosty months.

Weight Pressure

The most immediate risk of letting snow pile up on your roof is the sheer weight of it. Wet snow is especially heavy. Roofs are designed to handle a lot, but an excessive accumulation can push that limit, risking structural damage or, in extreme cases, collapse. This pressure is a particular concern for older homes that might not meet current building standards or for commercial roofing that covers a larger area.

Ice Dams

Ice dams form when the heat from your attic melts the snow on your roof, which then refreezes when it reaches the colder eaves. This cycle creates a dam of ice at the edge of your roof, preventing proper drainage and leading to potential water damage inside your home. The process can lift shingles, cause leaks, and, in some cases, necessitate roof replacements if not addressed promptly.

Solar Panels

For homes with solar panels, snow can cover the panels and significantly reduce their efficiency. While solar panels are designed to absorb some heat, which helps melt the snow, a heavy accumulation can negate this effect, leading to a loss of energy production.

How to Mitigate These Risks

  • Regular Monitoring: Keep an eye on the forecast and your roof. Knowing when to expect heavy snowfall allows you to prepare in advance.
  • Safe Removal: If you’re comfortable and can do so safely, using a roof rake to remove snow from the edges of your roof gently can prevent ice dams and reduce weight pressure. Never climb onto your roof in snowy or icy conditions.
  • Professional Help: Sometimes, the best call is to bring in professionals, especially if you’re dealing with commercial roofing or TPO roofing, which might require specialized roof maintenance. Professionals can safely remove snow and ice from your roof without causing damage.

Remember, the goal is to prevent damage before it starts. A little bit of prevention can save a lot of hassle and expense down the road.


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How to Protect Your Solar Panels

Solar panels have become increasingly popular in New England, offering a green alternative to traditional energy sources. However, winter brings a unique challenge for solar panel owners. Snow accumulation can significantly reduce the efficiency of your solar panels, effectively dimming your lights just when you need them most. Here’s what you need to know to keep your solar investment paying off, even when the snow falls.

Snow’s Impact on Solar Panels

Snow can cover solar panels completely, blocking the sun and stopping production. While panels are generally installed at an angle to help snow slide off, the reality in New England is that snow can be sticky and heavy, clinging stubbornly to surfaces and making roof maintenance complicated.

Using Snow Rakes

Just like with the rest of your roof, snow rakes can be a solar panel’s best friend. They’re designed to remove snow without scratching or damaging the panels safely. It’s a simple step that can make a big difference in your winter energy efficiency. Just be gentle and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to avoid accidental damage.

Regular Roof Maintenance

The key to solar panel efficiency, particularly in winter, is regular maintenance. This maintenance means keeping an eye on the weather and clearing off snow after storms. It also means checking your system’s energy output regularly to ensure it’s performing as expected. If you notice a significant drop-off, it might be time for a professional roof inspection.

Preventative Measures

Consider installing a monitoring system to keep track of your solar output. Some systems can alert you when production drops, helping you identify when snow might be an issue. Also, talk to your installer about the best tilt angle for shedding snow, which can vary based on your specific location.

Keeping your solar panels clear of snow is about protecting your investment. Snow and ice can potentially damage the panels over time if left unchecked. A little bit of proactive care can ensure your solar panels continue to provide clean, efficient energy all year round, even in the depths of a New England winter.


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Sheds and Garages

It’s not just your home that needs attention during the winter months. Sheds and garages, often overlooked, face the same risks from snow accumulation as the main house. These structures, whether housing your car or tools or acting as a workshop, play vital roles and deserve protection from winter’s wrath.

The Risk to Smaller Buildings

Snow’s weight can compromise the structural integrity of sheds and garages just like it can with homes. Many outbuildings are not built to the same standards as houses and may be more susceptible to damage or collapse under heavy snow. Additionally, ice dams can form on these structures, leading to leaks and water damage over time.

Maintaining Access

Keeping a path clear to these outbuildings is crucial, not just for access, but to facilitate snow removal and roof maintenance. Snow rakes work just as well on sheds and garages, and keeping these roofs clear can prevent a host of problems down the line.

Professional Inspection

If you’re unsure about the structural integrity of your outbuildings or if they’re capable of withstanding a heavy snow load, consider having them professionally inspected. Inspections are particularly important for commercial roofing on larger outbuildings, which might require more specialized roofing warranties to assess and maintain.

Key Takeaways

As New Englanders, we’re no strangers to the challenges of winter. Snow removal from roofs, solar panels, sheds, and garages is an essential part of winter home maintenance. It protects the structural integrity of our properties, ensures our solar panels remain efficient, and keeps our outbuildings safe and accessible.

  • Be Proactive: Regular checks and maintenance can prevent major issues.
  • Safety First: Use the right tools for snow removal, and when in doubt, call in the professionals.
  • Don’t Forget the Outbuildings: Your shed and garage need protection to avoid roof damage.
  • Consider the Experts: For peace of mind, especially with commercial roofing and TPO roofing, professional assessments and snow removal can save a lot of headaches.

Winter in New England is a fact of life, but with the right preparation, your home and outbuildings can weather the storm just fine.



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Altitude Roofing is family-owned and operated, with decades of roof maintenance experience and a passion for delivering honest, reliable roofing servicesWe worked to become one of Massachusetts’s most trusted residential roofing companies. That’s why we’re a Google Verified Business with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

As part of this commitment, we have achieved certifications from some of the industry’s most well-known manufacturers: Carlisle, Atlas, CertaTeedGAF, Firestone, and Genflex. You can count on our team of skilled professionals for exceptional service and quality craftsmanship. Contact us today for a free roofing estimate!

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