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Old 10-27-15, 08:14 PM   #1
Lex Parsimoniae
 
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Default Roofer Joe 21 ft. Twist-N-Lock Telescoping Shovel Roof Rake

I just purchased one of these light weight snow rakes..
Snow Joe Roofer Joe 21 ft. Twist-N-Lock Telescoping Shovel Roof Rake-RJ204M - The Home Depot



The 14' FG windsurfer mast I was using for my old beat up roof rack seems
to have gotten really heavy as I approach my 70th birthday...

This new rake might be light-duty, but at 4.8 pounds, me likeee..

I checked out the 'reach'.. It's good.. Goes almost all the way to the top.
About 1 foot more and it would be on top of the ridge vent..

After being buried last year, I've decided to try to keep up with the snow this winter.
Meaning that I will use the snow thrower to make a ditch around the house and the garage,
that will allow me to use the snow rake to clean off snow,
before it gets too deep.. letting 3 feet of snow pile up, is a mistake,
no matter how light and fluffy it is.. My goal is to not allow over a foot up there.

Anyways, the locking rings are easy to use and they work fine.
The plastic rake part is pretty heavy duty. And should be easy to replace.
I do not like the bowing of the pole when fully extended..
But I will withhold reviewing this tool, until I get to use it a few times..
For the price, the quality looks pretty good.

The main fitting where the pole fits into the rake, has two pop-up buttons
that lock into two holes in a plastic tube..

The support arms are fastened to the pole with a bolt and locking nut.
The rake end of the support arms have threaded metal inserts embedded in plastic posts. They seem solid..

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Old 10-28-15, 07:22 AM   #2
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Xringer,

I am SO glad that I don't have to do roof raking anymore. I grew up just SW of you in the snow belt (just east of Worcester) and the snow rake had to be used on the home 3/12 roof pitch after every snow. It was exhausting especially with wet "mashed potato" snow.

If you didn't rake, then ice dams accumulated and water dripped into the house.

Now for a practical question. If you truly put adequate insulation on the attic floor AND ventilate the attic well, does this prevent ice damming? Or does it just slow it down?

Older homes in NH and Vermont are typically built with far steeper roof pitch (at least 4/12 and mostly 5/12) and I never heard of ice dams and I am sure that those attics were poorly insulated. With the steep pitch, the snow fell away easily.

My cousin in Vermont built his home with a 5/12 roof pitch and used a metal roof (R60 roof insulation). Snow just slides off. The danger, and it is real, is that the snow sliding off can be like an avalanche. He was once shoveling the front walk and got buried by such a slide.

Last winter I believe you got 100+ inches of snow - a record that goes back to ? My mother in law still lives in her own home (Woburn) and we constantly fear for her in winter. Ice is worse than snow, but 100+ inches has to be the worst.

Buy the most expensive snow shovel and have the perversity of the economics/reality ratio show you a mild winter . . . . .


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Old 10-28-15, 11:13 AM   #3
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Default The attic insulation is petty good..

The underlayment of my roof shingles is 5 feet of rubber, covering the eaves (and upwards) and making them pretty waterproof.. The stuff is self-sealing around the roofing nails..

We get horrible ice dams all the time, since our roof has no overhang at all..
The snow sits on the gutters (top of the leaf guard), turns to solid ice, insuring a dam will form..
The only way to stop it, is using those 400 watt melt wires..
And, we would need a lot of them.. We have two installed on the northside,
and are only somewhat effective.. Most of the time, we still get massive ice dams..
Sometimes, they are big round tubes of clear hard ice, 16" or more in diameter..
I've used a step ladder out on the deck, to chop ice.. Cut a melt wire once!
The gutters get pulled out and have to be re-nailed.. They are a PITB..

We have to use wires in the back (north) side of the house, since there is near zero sun back there in the winter.. The south surfaces get sun and self-clean much of the time..
I would love a steel roof! Those are the real self-cleaners.. The only place we have to worry about getting hit by avalanche, is in front of the garage doors.
But, there's a stinking gutter there too.. So, the ice dams stop any sliding snow banks..
The detached garage is un-heated, but has the same ice dams at the gutters as the house..
I would love to ditch the 24' gutter on the garage.. We would get a little rain on our heads, but a lot less headaches in the winter..

I've been thinking about ditching all the south side gutters, and replacing them with different style of gutter. Something open, that takes away the rain water, but doesn't becoming a 4 month storage area for ice..

We can't ditch the northside gutters because it's on the uphill side and rain water would flood the basement.. I would have to get rid of all the plants and built a drainage ditch, under the roof's edge..

I've seen something like this: http://www.coppershoppe.com/product_...er_Bracket.jpg
But, instead of a half-tube, it's closer to a 1/3 tube (and hangs a bit lower) So, leaves will just blow right out.. And 90% of all rain fall with not overflow it..
A minimalist gutter..

~~~~

I just checked out Arcadia, OK.. Wow! It must be great to drive down Route 66 and have a hot dog at POPS..
Does anyone there have PV on their roof? Man, that looks like a great place to live! I'll bet the weather is a lot better than South or central Texas..
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Old 10-28-15, 06:18 PM   #4
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"Pops" is a great place to get burgers and watch all the car/motorcycle and other caravans stop in as they do the Rt 66 trip. Tuesday is 1/2 price burger day. Look up the Arcadia "Round Barn". Also very interesting.

The terrain and tree coverage here (central Oklahoma) is much like suburban Boston, but more hills. Forget the Steinbeck images . . . Yeah, summer can get a bit toasty. Then there are those springtime distractions that swirl a bit . . .

Frankly, I fear wildfires FAR more than tornados. The likelihood of being hit here, in the bulls eye of tornado alley, per sq mile is once in about 400 years. And the vast majority of tornados are EF0, EF1 and EF2 (80+%).

Fires just consume everything. I have a concrete poured basement and that would get us all through a tornado.

Central Massachusetts is not immune and you all had a tornado just last year if I recall (in Winchester?). In fact the tornado that created the Severe Storm Center went through Worcester to Southboro in June, 1953 and killed a LOT of people and injured many hundreds (now estimated at an EF4 magnitude). The day before, the same weather pattern created a tornado that tore up Flint Michigan and also killed injured many.

Today's high was about 71, low about 50. We have this weather day after day in the fall.

I do miss the tree color change in New England. It is unlike anywhere in the world. So enjoy it (or are all the leaves already down?).


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Old 10-28-15, 07:11 PM   #5
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The "Round Barn" was one of the neat pictures I saw on the web..
I was zipping around in StreetView mode, looking at all the houses and trees etc..

The "Color" isn't all that good this year around here.. We were at Horn Pond yesterday.
My wife was out Kayaking for 2 hours and I didn't even take the camera out of the car.
Just sat around reading a book.. Poor-colors.. It's raining and windy for the next couple of days,
so the yard will be a mess.. Nope, I'm not a big 'New England Fall Color' guy..
I see all those dead leaves as dead leaves that will kill the grass if they aren't moved..
Plus, they cause a lot of accidents, being almost as slipper as ice..

We had some tree damage here when that tornado passed by..
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_N...rnado_outbreak

I forgot about that aspect of living out in the alley..
I guess it's not really a Retiree paradise..
But could be the closest thing to it..

Sometimes the color is good.. From the web in 2014..


This is the same spot, on a nice day. 10/12/2015. (Wife in kayak. The little blue boat is mine)..
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Old 10-28-15, 08:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehull View Post
Now for a practical question. If you truly put adequate insulation on the attic floor AND ventilate the attic well, does this prevent ice damming? Or does it just slow it down?
In the early 90's, I owned a house in Houghton, MI. The land of 300" snow every winter. The house was a double wide with a low pitch roof (3"?) over a poorly insulated cathedral ceiling. Our first winter had 6" diameter icicles dangling six feet from the eaves.

The next summer, I stripped the shingles, added 2" XPS, laid 2X4's flat on the foam to create an air space, OSB sheathing on top of that with ridge vent, and new shingles. A dozen friends and a big work party got it done in two days.

The following winter showed ZERO ice dams with four feet of snow on the roof.
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Old 10-28-15, 10:28 PM   #7
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.




Avalanche Roof Rake Snow Removal Systems - Manufacturer



Or, make your own.






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Old 10-29-15, 12:06 AM   #8
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I looked at those Slip-n-Slide gizmos for a bit.. They look nice for light snow.
But, when you have a hard-shell of ice over the snow.. Or ice dams..
Not sure how well they would work.

Last winter, the winds made some big drifts with all kinds of odd surface angles and varying depths of snow on the roofs. It was pretty hard to get snow coming down with a metal shovel.. There were layers of hard snow inside layers of soft snow..
I had to really work to bring those layers down. Working from the tops of the piles..
Driving a blade under that stuff would have been impossible..
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Old 10-29-15, 12:35 AM   #9
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Here's my experience using the three tools that I've come across.

Avalanche - In theory this should be the best tool out there for clearing the panels. Based on using it, it seems to be a wonder if I ever needed to remove snow from my roof but it can be a pain with the PV unless you've got a lot of snow to remove. It doesn't remove too close to the module, it gets down to about 1/4 to 1/2" in most areas except you run into a serious issue over the mounting hardware for the panels, you can't get too close going over that, not to mention the fact that you are pulling a plastic sheet over metal hardware. I've got holes in my avalanche. ..because of this, I only use it when I've got over a foot on the panels.

Backwards-facing shovel(aka plastic roof rake) - This works reasonably well except it seems to get down to 1/8 to 1/4" depending on the type of snow you are removing, it also takes multiple passes to catch what was left over. It also snags on the seams between the panels and on the hardware as well, which usually involves more passes.

Which leads me to my most commonly used tool
: Drum roll :
The widest broom I could find with the stiffest (without scratching) bristles I could get with a lightweight handle. I'm still working out the plan for a better pole system, so far I've used two 10 foot EMT conduit sections added to the end of the initial metal broom pole and that worked out but was super heavy. Then I moved on to wooden dowels that fit inside EMT conduit connectors which lightened things up and made things less wobbly at the same time. It's still not perfect because there is some extra space inside the EMT connectors to not have whole pole sag a little but it works good enough until I think of a better system. Commercial extendable poles are too short, too flimsy, and too expensive. I think I might buy another extension to my plastic snow rake and try to jerry rig the broom handle to where the rake head is normally mounted.

What the broom allows is to get very close, the bristles can pull over uneven areas such as seams of the panels and will glide over mounting hardware. It also lets you slide over icy chunks that are sometimes present and allow you to get the closest you can, which with time, a black panel, and the sun, will melt that stuff off sooner.

Pro tip
I find that I must be diligent with timing the clearing of fresh snowfall. If I get it first thing in the morning, the panels are cold and the snow doesn't readily slide down the panels as I sweep it off. If I get it between 2 and 3pm when the sun is strong, usually the panels are warm enough with the light that gets through the snow to the black panel to where the snow will slide off as I'm sweeping it down, which helps get the last few dregs of snow and usually will also aid in melting the rest off with the remaining sun and if anything is there on sundown, it will usually be completely cleared by the next day.

I can't imagine clearing snow this often or to the extent that I do if I had a single MPPT on my system though. In that case, the worst panel dictates the output of the whole system. I have a SolarEdge system with one MPPT on each panel and I've had one module producing 150 watts(it's winter without full sun) while another was producing almost nothing because of uneven snow clearing. This allows me to clear as much of the snow off as I can but still not worry enough to try anything crazy to get the very last bit.
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Old 10-29-15, 07:04 PM   #10
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Those individual GTIs are the way to go, if you are going to have snow or leaves up on the PV.
We had a bunch of leafs sticking on the backyard PV today.. (serial hookup).
But I had too many other problems, and just forgot all about the PV..
Those arrays are so low, I can use a standard old push broom..
The rain storm caused us to get some unexpected problems..
When you get old, your trouble shooting skills go to pot..

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