Home insurance may help cover the cost.

In the past week, Kevin Murray, owner of Murray Homes & Renovation Company in Westwood, Mass., received 50 calls for rooftop snow removal that can cost  $300 to $750. 


He has seen as much as 3 feet of snow on a single rooftop.


“The older the roof, the more dangerous it is,” Murray said. 


On average, snow weighs about 20 pounds per square foot.


“Add that up over a typical 2,000-square-foot house, that's a lot of weight,'' Murray said.


Having someone cut a track into the ice dam and line it with ice melt or calcium chloride can prevent a dam from re-forming and can make a big difference if there are impending storms to worry about.


With a low-pitch roof, Murray said it is best to start with the highest part and work your way down. With high-pitched roofs, you are forced to start at the gutter line and use snow rakes. 


Once the snow is removed, it is easier for the ice to come down, but you want to clear it away from the foundation afterward, to keep it from leaking into the basement when it begins to melt. 


Murray said many homeowners' insurance companies are being proactive about the problems of roof collapses this winter.


“The insurance companies will sometimes allow you a deduction for the price of the snow removal,'' he said. 


Craig Salamone, owner of VC Snow Removal in Stoughton, Mass., sees too many people using a hammer to relieve ice dams that prevent proper melting. 


“We use a power tool,” he said. “The ice dam is chipped away from the edge of the gutter so the gutter isn't destroyed.”


Salamone removes ice dams by chipping, charging an hourly rate because the thickness of the ice will determine how long a job will take. On average, a home's snow removal can cost $300 to $400.


Salamone said anyone working on your roof should have proof of insurance, along with proper equipment such as safety harnesses and roof rakes.


Shaunna Gately may be reached at sgately@ledger.com.