Variable wintry weather causes worries for homeowners

December’s heavy snow and fluctuating temperatures have many Edmontonians worrying about the state of their roofs.
Professional roof cleaners in Edmonton have been kept busy by the fluctuating temperatures and heavy snow this winter. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

December’s heavy snow and fluctuating temperatures have many Edmontonians worrying about the state of their roofs.

Several roofs across the province collapsed in the past week -- including one roof at a wildlife rescue centre in Medicine River that failed, killing two bald eagles inside.

On Tuesday, the roof of the WhitecourtIGA fell through. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

General Roofing Systems foreman Shane Leblanc said collapses like those in Whitecourt and Medicine River could have been easily prevented with a little routine maintenance.

General Roofing Systems foreman Shane Leblanc says people can save a lot of money in the long run by making sure their roof is cleared of snow. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

Ice dams grow as snow melts and then refreezes usually as a result of poor ventilation. The meltwater then gradually builds up, creating a mass of ice that acts as a dam for any future runoff.

By simply keeping snow off the roof, the entire process can be avoided.

“Get a crew like us. Get it shovelled off and taken care of. Get the weight off,” Leblanc said. “An hour or two and it's done.”

Hiring a professional crew to clear off your roof can cost between $400 and $650 dollars, depending on roof slope and size, said Gil Olson, the manager of Advanced Roofing Systems.

But even with that price tag, Leblanc says a little winter cleaning can end up saving you big money.

“You could save a lot of money having someone come up here and get your roof done and the snow removed. If you don't get it done, you're looking at thousands of dollars to get it replaced.”

Leblanc said his company has seen an increase in calls lately, and he expects they’ll be busy as long as the heavy snowfalls keep coming.

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