After worrying all week about the snow load on the shop end of my house (I could see the sag in the framing over the windows and had vivid imaginings of dramatic cave-ins), I decided I just had to find the old roof rake and go to work removing some of the snow from that part of the house. Until today, I had not used a roof rake for about 15 years. I purchased one all those years ago to try to deal with the ice dams and snow build-up on the main part of the house. I quickly learned that roof rakes can cause more problems than they solve. When I removed the snow load from the eaves and the temperatures stayed really low, the ice dams then formed higher up on the roof and caused leaks inside the house. Not good. I switched my strategy to climbing up on the roof and shoveling ALL of the snow off of the roof over the main part of the house. Either I removed all of it, or I didn't touch it. No more raking just the edges.
I will not allow anyone to walk on the roof of the shop. I know it's in poor shape, and I don't trust it to hold a person and a snow load. So, for the last 15 years, it has not been shoveled. Because it is unheated, ice dams don't form on it, and eventually the snow goes away. THIS winter, however, the snow load on the shop is excessive. (Even though the snow only measures 20-24" deep on that roof, it is a very packed, dense load.)
Found the old roof rake, body-surfed over the snow bank and--a little over an hour later--I think that roof was breathing easier. I know I was.
P.S. All of the "roof work" I have done over the last 20 years has serious impact on the kind of roof I will even consider building. One of my fantasies is that I find a way never to shovel a roof again. My JayBee roof will have a good slope, metal roofing, excellent insulation AND venting, and no skylights. The gable over the front door makes me nervous--I wish I could make the roof simple, with no valleys at all--but I think it would be foolish to channel all rain and snow right onto the heads of people going in and out the door...ah, which would be primarily me!