It's one of the fun winter tasks of being a home-owner, raking the roof.

My last house had one corner section, where an addition met with the original structure of the house, where the snow and ice would build up.  We, as newer home owners, knew to rack the roof but, maybe weren't as vigilant as we should have been.

Eventually, a leak made it into the house, right in the corner of the addition/living room, which was pretty close to some recessed lighting.  We knew a new roof was in our future.

But, you can prevent these problems by doing the hard work over the winter and racking the roof when snow accumulates.  Ice getting past the shingles and lodging underneath can cause leaking issues and the more it backs up and builds up, the shorter time you'll be waiting for a leak to develop and, on top of that <rimshot>, a new roof to have to pay for.

Disastersafety.org has some tips for you to prevent roof issues that really come down to assessing the situation.

First, it you need to assess if the slop of your roof poses a problem.  You can assume that a steeper roof is going to allow for good runoff, which avoids a build-up of ice and snow.  If, however, you have lower slope to your roof, identified as having a 3-inch or less difference to a full foot length, or no slope, then considered yourself selected for the task.

Also, look to areas over porches or parts of the roof beneath taller sections.  These areas are prone to more accumulation, especially if there are high winds going on.

Next is to figure out how much weight your roof can handle.  If it's a newer roof and in decent shape, you can expect your roof to be able to handle about 20 lbs per square foot before there starts to be potential structural stresses.  If your roof is older and more decayed, expect that weight to be lower when it comes to what weight your roof can handle.

Lastly, after it snows, you have to assess the weight that the snow fall has put on your roof.  Here's how disastersafety.org puts it:

Fresh snow: "10-12 inches of new snow is equal to 1 inch of water, or about 5 pounds per square foot of roof space, so you could have up to 4 feet of new snow before the roof will become stressed."

Packed snow: "3-5 inches of old snow is equal to 1 inch of water, or about 5 pounds per square foot of roof space, so anything more than 2 feet of old snow could be too much for your roof to handle."

What about ice, you say?  Disastersafety.org states that one inch of ice is equal to one foot of fresh snow.  It adds up after a few storms and natural melting.

After all of this assessment, it's probably best to guestimate 25ish lbs of ice and snow as to when you should do some raking.  And, if you're just not into a guessing game, get a hold of a professional to do some snow removing for you.

For more info, check out Disastersafety.org.

10 Essential Items for Your Car's Winter Emergency Kit

10 Most Dangerous Critters in Maine