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There’s no doubt that spending time touring in your RV is a lot of fun, especially during sunny and warm days. However, things take a different turn in winter when the snows begin to come down. One question that RV owners always ask is whether or not they should remove snow from their RV roofs.
You should remove snow from your RV roof, especially when it’s over a few inches or decimeters high. Its weight can dent your roof, or the melted snow can seep into your RV and ruin the materials inside. Using a soft snow rake is the best way to remove snow without damaging the roof material.
In this article, we shall discuss this subject in more detail, looking at why you should remove snow from your roof and how you should do this. We shall also look at tips to help you manage your RV better during winter.
Why You Should Remove Snow From Your RV Roof
Having snow on your RV’s roof may not look like it can be dangerous to your RV. Contrary to what you may have believed, an accumulation of snow on the roof can become a major source of concern.
A square inch (6.45 square cm) of snow will weigh about 12 pounds (5.44 kg). Imagine about 5 square inches (32.26 square feet) of snow accumulating on your RV’s roof. You will have about 60 pounds (27.21 kg) of weight weighing down on the roof.
In addition, temperature changes can result in ice formation from the accumulated snow. When the ice melts, it turns to water which can run into cracks and crevices on the roof. While you may think that your roof is well sealed and will not leak, even with the melted ice running into the cracks, there’s an important factor you may have yet to consider.
The varying temperatures, which will result in the formation of ice on the one hand, and the melting of the same ice, on the other hand, will also have a direct impact on the roof material. As the temperature gets colder, there will be more contraction, and as it gets warmer, there will be an expansion.
The constant contractions and expansions of the roof material, due to the changing temperature, will cause the cracks and crevices to have gaps through which the melted ice will seep into your RV.
Given all of the above, it should now be obvious that you should, as a matter of utmost importance, prevent snow from accumulating on your RV’s roof. Let’s now look at how you can safely remove snow from your RV roof.
How To Safely Remove Snow From Your RV Roof
One major issue RV owners have regarding removing snow from their RV roofs is the fear of damaging the roof in the process. This is a valid concern, as going about this in the wrong way can indeed cause significant damage to an RV roof.
To ensure that snow is removed efficiently and safely, note the following:
- Get a ladder and ensure you never stand or walk directly on the roof as you try to remove the snow. This can be dangerous as you can slip and fall. If you need to increase the grip on the roof, maybe you have a mat or something you can use to walk on to increase grip and avoid falling.
- Don’t use a metal shovel or any metal object to scrape snow off the RV roof.
- Start your RV to warm it up so the snow can be loosened, making it more slippery and likely to fall off. This is because the warming RV will melt the bottom layer of the snow.
Considering the points above, let’s now look at how to get rid of that snow on the RV roof safely and effectively. The tools you will require will depend on the characteristic of the snow. In general, you will need the following:
- a ladder with good traction on the rungs
- an extendable soft snow rake
- a plastic shovel
There are two snow types that you may have to deal with. These are dry, light snow, and wet, heavy snow. However, wet snow can sometimes become so dense that it requires a different method. We’ll look at the steps for clearing off any of the different types of snow mentioned.
Dry, Light Snow
This is your regular, flaky snow that hasn’t formed into ice on the roof. This type of snow is not compact and is light enough to be swept off. You’ll need a step ladder and a soft, extendable snow rake for this type of snow.
These are the steps to remove dry, light snow:
- Place the ladder securely by the side of your RV
- Climb the ladder and evaluate the thickness of the snow on the roof.
- Use the extendable soft snow rake to remove the snow deposit carefully. It should be enough to remove most of the dry and light snow.
- Ensure you sweep carefully not to damage any of the protruding parts on the roof.
Wet, Heavy Snow
This type of snow has become dense due to temperature changes, melted snow, and possible refreezing of the melted snow. This type of snow has become packed and heavy and cannot be easily removed with a snow rake.
The steps below will help you remove this type of snow from your RV roof:
- Get a ladder with good traction and secure it next to your RV. Climb up the side of your RV.
- Assess the characteristics of the snow. You can do this by trying to remove those closest to you. If the depth of the snow is pretty thick and it’s wet and heavy, you must use a sturdy plastic shovel.
- Start by scraping off the top layers of the snow with a plastic shovel. This is necessary because the soft snow rake may not be able to get the job done or do it in a timely manner.
- Be mindful of the structures above your RV. While scraping with the plastic shovel, remember that you have antennas, vents, and other vital components of your RV that extend from the roof. You want to avoid damaging any of these while removing snow.
- Continue removing layers of snow until it is low enough for you to switch to the soft snow rake. With this, you can completely remove the deposited snow without damaging the roof or any components on it.
Wet, Dense Snow
As discussed, it’s not a best practice to stand on the RV roof while removing the snow. That said, there may be situations where you may decide to climb onto the roof. If temperatures rise or if there’s some rainfall, you may find that the snow has become wet, dense, and pretty compact.
Again, it’s always best to avoid standing on your snow-filled RV roof. However, if you must get on the roof, there are a few things you must do to be safe:
- Wear waterproof clothing.
- Crawl on the roof carefully as you remove the packed snow.
- Remember that you have antennas, vents, and other protruding components on the roof that can be damaged if you don’t do this cleaning process with utmost care.
As you will see in the video below, you may be able to remove chunks of this snow with your “gloved” hands. You can watch a visual example here:
Steps To Keep Snow off Your RV Roof
There’s a famous saying that prevention is better than cure. In this case, preventing the buildup of snow on your RV roof is a better goal as this will remove the need to have to remove the snow buildup.
There are several ways this can be achieved, and we will look at a few of these in the section below:
Build A Carport
One of the most effective ways to keep snow off your RV roof is parking it in a carport. A carport is traditionally built to shield cars from the elements. These same carports can be built to suit an RV. However, it may not be a solution that every RV owner can afford to adopt.
You can see an example of a carport being used for an RV in this video:
Use A Storage Unit
While carports must be built on-site, an RV storage unit can be rented. This is a good alternative for RV owners who don’t want to build a carport for whatever reason and will also not be using their RV during the winter days.
All you need to do is find an RV storage near you and store your RV safely until you need it or until after the snows have gone.
Maximize the Use of Physical Barriers
The two options discussed above will prevent snow from falling and accumulating on your RV’s roof. However, not all RV owners will be willing or able to take advantage of those two options.
Without access to any of the options mentioned above, the only other way to prevent snow from accumulating on the RV roof is by taking advantage of barriers in the immediate environment.
Parking your RV beside tall buildings can be helpful. The same applies to other barriers like walls. While these barriers may not completely prevent snow from falling onto the RV’s roof, they can at least reduce the quantity of snow that falls on it, especially when side-blowing winds carry the snow.
Again, this last option can only reduce the quantity of snow that will get to the roof. It won’t prevent it completely.
How To Care for Your RV in Winter
Aside from keeping snow off your RV roof, there are other ways to take care of your RV during the winter months. In this section, we shall share some tips that will help you take proper care of your RV during winter.
Winterize the RV
This is something that every RV owner should know about. This process usually involves releasing every drop of water in the entire system. This includes water tanks, pipes, faucets, and showers. The system is then filled with antifreeze.
However, if you don’t want to use antifreeze, you can safely do so by following the tips in my other article, I Always Winterize My RV Without Antifreeze – Here’s How!
This is necessary because leaving water in the storage tanks and pipes can cause these to break. As the water gets frozen, the contractions and expansions that will arise from these, not to mention the increased brittleness brought about by the ice, can damage these important components of your RV.
Before winterizing your RV, ensure that you have read your RV’s user manual to understand how to go about it. You can watch this video for an example of how an RV can be winterized.
Clean the Interior and Use a Dehumidifier
It is vital that you thoroughly clean the interior of your RV. Remove every food remains and ensure that every garbage and dirt is thrown out. You could then use a dehumidifier to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
Disconnect the Batteries and Store Them Properly
You don’t want to leave any batteries on your RV connected through the winter months as this can damage the batteries, requiring you to purchase a new one after winter. Unless you plan on using the RV during the winter days, then you should remove the batteries and store them in a safe and conducive place or charge them regularly.
Fix All the Locks and Make the RV Pest-proof
Before parking your RV or sending it to storage for the winter, ensure that all the locks are in good shape. This will ensure that no unauthorized person can easily gain entrance into it. You should also check to ensure that there are no holes or spaces through which mice and other pests can get in.
You may have encountered experts who recommend leaving the snow on your RV roof until it melts off. While this may be okay in some situations, there’s no doubt that leaving a lot of snow on your RV roof can’t be good for it in the long run.
It’s best to learn how to safely remove the piled-up snow from your RV roof since it’s absolutely best to prevent snow accumulation on your RV roof. With the information shared in the article, you can now safely remove snow from your RV roof.