How much snow is too much on your roof?

Though it's seems that winter is coming to an end, it's the worst time of year for snow being on roofs.

"Here it is in March and we've had several good snowfalls and it builds up in layers and compresses," Ken Murchison, code enforcement officer for the City of Caribou, said.

Murchison says new houses can typically handle around 100 pounds per square foot on their roof and older homes can handle about 45 pounds per square foot but it depends on how well the building was maintained. However, a roof can collapse with as little as 18 inches of snow because it's all concentrated in one area.

"You may look at one area of your roof and find 8 inches of frozen snow on one side but the wind has drifted four feet on another. So you may have 100 pounds light load on your roof but it's all focused on one area," Murchison said.

Murchison adds there is another spring time issue that can cause damage.

"When you inspect your roof line, look for icicles that are starting to hang down cause the repeated freeze and thaw will create an ice sheet on the very edge of your roof line and it creates a dam for water to build up behind. So this ice damming can produce a situation where you have water entering your house and this can cause mold and mildew and rot and shorten the life span of your roof," Murchison said.

He adds that the safest way to remove snow is to stay on the ground.

"We have more accidents every year from ladder falls or people over exerting themselves shoveling than we ever do from collapsed roofs," Murchison said.

Murchison says that if your need to get onto your roof to clean it off, call a professional as they might have the right equipment to do it safely.