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Servicing Anchorage, Eagle River and the Mat Su Valley

Snow Loading

With the winter weather we have had this year and the accumulated snow, its hard to find a place to put it all. The snow dumps are filling up locally and we have all heard of the collapse of buildings in Cordova and the heavy accumulations in Valdez. When the National Guard is called out you know it has to be serious!! Last Friday the roof collapsed on a local community church in Anchorage.

In the Anchorage area we have a little over double what our normal snowfall would be for a year, and are just 6” away from breaking the record for the most snowfall and we still have most of this month to go. I for one remember a Saint Patrick ’s Day blizzard and almost 21” of snow one year. I won’t believe the winter is over until I see the first swarm of big mosquitoes out in our yard. Lone ones don’t count, as I have seen them already, tough little buggers, too. Until they unceremoniously met me. Bye bye bug.

This snow accumulation can have disastrous effects on our homes too. Our roofs are generally designed for a 40# per square foot “Live” (snow) load as well as a 10# “Dead” load (the weight of the structure), but in other parts of the country they design for much greater as well as much lesser loading. Not much in Orlando, or Birmingham but a WHOLE lot more in Telluride Colorado. Of course in Orlando and Birmingham they do have those pesky hurricanes and tornadoes to worry about.

If you are concerned about your roof loads you should consult a roofing professional and possibly have them remove the snow for you. Depending on your health and age as well as the height above the ground you may elect to remove the snow yourself. Using good judgment here is vital as any fall could be fatal. If you can remove the snow from the ground with a “snow-rake” with an extended handle then that’s the best solution. You cannot fall off something you are not “on”. Do not be concerned with removing every bit of snow, but do be sure to evenly remove the snow from the roof as an imbalanced roof can have disastrous consequences as well.

If you see sagging in the roof, or notice any staining or active leakage at the eave or along the interior wall lines above the eave, then it is time to take action. Icicles and ice damming can also contribute considerable loads on our roofs and overhangs. If your interior or exterior doors do not operate properly they may be suffering from the increased loading.

The use of chemicals, or for the “tool-guys” amongst us; a snow blower is not a really bright idea. The chemicals will be in your yard and lawn in the spring, but you and the snow blower would likely be there much sooner. The effects of either may haunt you for months.

Use your head, there’s a reason why you have one, and it’s what separates us from the other primates.

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