Vt. officials: Shovel off your roof before cold temps return

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BARRE, Vt. (WCAX) A winter warmup is giving many a chance to shovel out some of the melting snow. And with all the melting, officials are reminding the public of the importance of cleaning off your roof before the bitter cold temps come back.

Warm temperatures now and freezing rain on the way. Experts say if you haven't gotten your snow off your roof yet, you're going to want to soon.

Gene Gravel is a snow removal expert. The Bellavance Land Works and Hauling employee demonstrated how easy it is to use a roof rake. "I'm taking the first 2 or 3-feet off the edge of the roof, so when it does rain and freezes back up it's not going to want to go underneath the edge," Gravel said.

Vermont Department of Public Safety officials say if you have a flat roof, this is a crucial investment. Roof rakes prevent water from building up and freezing. Why? Because when water freezes it expands, and when that happens homeowners can face costly roof repairs. And they say procrastination won't pay off.

"If it looks like you have a lot of snow, then get up there and get it off. If it's wet snow, you're definitely going to want to get it off because it will be heavier. The drier snow won't be as bad," Gravel said. He says once you get a foot of snow on the top of your building, it's time to take it off. But as you do, you need to be careful.

"With snow coming off the roof there is also the risk of plugging up heating appliances vents. Plugged vents can allow carbon monoxide to come back into the home," said the Vt. Division of Fire Safety's Michael Desrochers.

Officials say you need to know three important things:

-Snow drifts, so some parts of the roof may have more than others.
-Clear your pipes. That helps your appliances work correctly.
-Have working alarms. This could save your life if there is a carbon monoxide buildup or a fire.

And if you can't do the cleanup yourself, a professional can take care of the job.