One of the first things to do is be aware of your surroundings:
-Is your roof sagging or leaking?
-Do you see cracked or split wood members, cracks in your walls or masonry, sprinkler heads that have dropped down below ceiling?
-Have your doors or windows 'popped open' or are they difficult to open?
-Are your utility pipes or conduit attached at ceiling bowed or bent?
-Have you heard creaking, cracking or popping sounds?
If your home is showing any of these stressors, it's time to clear off your roof.
If you have fresh snow:
10-12" of new snow is equal to one inch of water, or about 1 lb. per square foot of roof space, so you might have up to 4 ft of new snow before your roof becomes stressed.
If you have packed snow:
3-5" of old snow is equal to one inch of water, or about 5 lb per sq. foot of rook space so anything more than 2 feet of old snow could be too much for your roof to handle..
Total accumulated weight:
2 Ft of old snow and 2 feet of new snow could weigh as much as 60 lb per square foot of roof space which is beyond the typical snow load capacity of most roofs
Ice: 1 inch of ice equals one foot of new snow
Take a look a your roof from the street and factor in the above types of snow on your roof. If you are above any of the stress points, it's time to get your roof cleared.
ELEVATION ABOVE SEA LEVEL MAXIMUM ANTICIPATED SNOW DEPTH (Dg)
5,001 - 5,500 ft.*** 9.7 ft.
5,501 - 6,000 ft. 11.7 ft.
6,001 - 6,500 ft. 12.7 ft.
6,501 - 7,000 ft. 14.3 ft.
7,001 - 7,500 ft. 16.0 ft.
7,501 ft. up 16.8 ft.
-Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
-Check outside fuel and dryer exhaust vents, making sure that they are not obstructed by snow or ice.
-Clear snow away from furnace and dryer exhaust vents to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
-Clear snow away from fireplace flues to also prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
Lastly, ice dams can cause major damage to a home or building. Ice dams occur after a heavy snowfall, followed by several days or even weeks of very cold weather. An ice dam is a wall of ice that forms at the edge of the roof, usually at the gutters or soffit. When it forms, the water backs up behind the ice dams and creates a pool. This pool of water can leak into your home and cause damage to your walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas.
With a little attention to the clues that your home is giving you and taking care of those details, you can spend the rest of this winter out enjoying all that Tahoe has to offer!