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Old 11-09-2019, 03:29 PM   #1
Scott in Michigan
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Snow Load

Here's a question for my fellow northerners.

I have to store our 32RLI outside this winter. It's fully winterized and covered with a commercial RV cover.

Our first snowfall of the season left very close to 11" of white stuff. Other areas were worse off so I'm not complaining, too much.

How much snow load do you let accumulate before removing it?

What is your tested method of snow removal?

Thank you,

Scott
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Old 11-09-2019, 04:23 PM   #2
skids
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Well, here is the issue, if you don't remove it, it could partially melt and refreeze which makes subsequent snow removal a royal PITA. It is best to remove that when you can. Also, there are heavy snows and light snows that have different desnities. I removed an 11 inch deep layer a week ago that was medium to light density. No problem with that concerning what the trailer can handle. I use a shop broom an drag it towards me (for the most part) while on a ladder.
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Old 11-09-2019, 05:58 PM   #3
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I intend to use a broom to push the snow off every time it snows. Where it’s parked it’s blocked from sunlight part of the day. I could see it having a partial melt and then a refreeze at night potentially breaking something Just easier to stay on top of it.
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Old 11-10-2019, 04:53 PM   #4
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I have only cleared mine of a couple times in many years, had an abnormal amount of snow ( couple ft or so) then a warm spell, snow pack got pretty heavy. Usually it is blown off or melts. I normally park nose down to assist in run off. P.S , plastic is pretty brittle up there.
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Old 11-10-2019, 05:21 PM   #5
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RV's around here that are parked outside typically accumulate 2-3 feet of snow pack on the roof. I haven't heard of or seen any that were damaged from that much snow... As stated, the plastic items on your roof will be extremely brittle at below freezing temperatures and subject to damage if "tapped a bit too hard" by a broom or even a snow brush.

Additionally, using a broom to pull the snow off the roof usually means it piles next to the trailer. After a couple of times pulling the snow off the roof, it's going to be difficult to get a ladder close enough to the trailer to climb up for the next round of snow removal....

If I were you, I wouldn't worry about removing the snow unless it gets deeper than 3 feet or so. You stand a good chance of causing more damage trying to keep the snow cleared off the roof than the snow would do if you just leave it alone.....

I can assure you that none of the RV dealerships pay to keep the roofs clear, so chances are good that if you bought in the spring, your RV has already had "experience in handling snow on the roof".....
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Old 11-10-2019, 05:38 PM   #6
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i have kept mine up in Northern Michigan for the last 3 years and never cleared the snow off when i am up there, which is pretty much every other weekend.. Never a worry..

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Old 11-10-2019, 05:55 PM   #7
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So let me get this straight. Someone's going to carry out a ladder, thru 2 or 3 feet of snow, set it on frozen ground, climb up while wearing boots packed with snow, and lean against a snow/ice covered structure to pull snow on yourself?

No thanks, I'll take a pass on that.
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by flybouy View Post
So let me get this straight. Someone's going to carry out a ladder, thru 2 or 3 feet of snow, set it on frozen ground, climb up while wearing boots packed with snow, and lean against a snow/ice covered structure to pull snow on yourself?

No thanks, I'll take a pass on that.
Only the first and/or second time. After that, you can't get the ladder close enough to the trailer to access the roof (because of the piled up snow around the trailer from pulling it off the roof).... So, chip away at the ice and snow for a day or two, get the ladder close enough and then "pull it back on yourself again" (as it replaces the pile you just moved to get the ladder in place)....

As you said, "No thanks, I'll take a pass on that." ME TOO !!!!!
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:50 PM   #9
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So let me get this straight. Someone's going to carry out a ladder, thru 2 or 3 feet of snow, set it on frozen ground, climb up while wearing boots packed with snow, and lean against a snow/ice covered structure to pull snow on yourself?

No thanks, I'll take a pass on that.

^^^^Ha! And therein lies the reason I no longer visit my mountain home in the winter. Counter productive; to get in, shovel snow from the stairs and deck after clearing the driveway. To get out; shovel snow off the stairs and deck as well as the path to the garage. Used to be fun decades ago; don't need it anymore. Performing that exercise to clean an RV roof....nah.
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:44 AM   #10
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^^^^Ha! And therein lies the reason I no longer visit my mountain home in the winter. Counter productive; to get in, shovel snow from the stairs and deck after clearing the driveway. To get out; shovel snow off the stairs and deck as well as the path to the garage. Used to be fun decades ago; don't need it anymore. Performing that exercise to clean an RV roof....nah.
I see John’s probably has a walkable roof. Marshall, not sure. Sourdough’s no idea. I would think that there could be some correlation between a “do not walk on” roof and a diminished engineering specification for snow load design (although not necessarily). This was my reason for removing the snow. I am with you concerning ladders. Me and ladders don’t get along — even in the summertime! My previous trailer was a walk-on Jayco and they recommended snow removal, so not knowing what Keystone recommends for my Bullet, that was my motivation for removing the snow. Living at 8800 feet elevation has its challenges.
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Old 11-11-2019, 07:17 AM   #11
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...
As you said, "No thanks, I'll take a pass on that." ME TOO !!!!!
March 19, 2019 - on the Continental Divide. A double "no thank you!"
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Old 11-11-2019, 07:31 AM   #12
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I see John’s probably has a walkable roof. Marshall, not sure. Sourdough’s no idea. I would think that there could be some correlation between a “do not walk on” roof and a diminished engineering specification for snow load design (although not necessarily). This was my reason for removing the snow. I am with you concerning ladders. Me and ladders don’t get along — even in the summertime! My previous trailer was a walk-on Jayco and they recommended snow removal, so not knowing what Keystone recommends for my Bullet, that was my motivation for removing the snow. Living at 8800 feet elevation has its challenges.
Mine is not "walkable" but I don't think that makes a difference. I think there's a reason the factory doesn't provide a snow load calculation, it's unnecessary. Unlike a sticks & bricks house, the camper's roof framing span is only 8' or 6'6" max. I don't think there could be enough snow to collapse the structure. I can't say that with certainty because I've not researched it but I also have never heard of it happening either.

In some areas of the country (thinking Buffalo, NY) where they get 10+ feet of wet lake effect snows per year many people use "snow rakes", shovels, and even snow blowers on flat roofs on commercial buildings to remove the incredible amounts of snow. Snow rakes have very long handles and are used from the ground, not while standing on a ladder.

From my experience the flat roofs on commercial buildings are the most susceptible even thou they are typically rated much higher snow loading than a residential building.

The "thaw freeze" cycle affects them differently as the melting must go thru the snow to drain. The roof drains and or scuppers can freeze and hold the water on the roof. If it freezes along the way you have glacier on the roof that can be incredibly heavy. A camper, especially unoccupied/unheated would not have thawing from below. Radiant thawing from the sun is free to flow down the snow and roof and drain off, and unlike a S&B house you don't have gutters and downspouts to create an ice dam at the base.

As for Skids elevation,as very cold temperatures, in my experiences the higher the elevation the more "powdery" and "dry" the snow becomes. We have relatives that live on a mtn. top looking at Pike's Peak in Divide, CO. Their elevation is 10,800' ASL. They have never owned a snowblower. They mainly use a leaf blower to clear their deck and drive.

So where I live snow is typically heavy wet and often like a slushy Slurpee but doesn't stay around long. In any case, I wouldn't attempt to stand on a ladder in the snow while it's on frozen ground but then again I like to think that I've gained some common sense over the years.
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:56 AM   #13
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The next time I see a dealership removing snow from ANY RV roof will be the FIRST time I've seen it. It simply doesn't happen.
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:08 PM   #14
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The next time I see a dealership removing snow from ANY RV roof will be the FIRST time I've seen it. It simply doesn't happen.
Let me know the next time you get appreciable snow in Memphis! LOL
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:39 PM   #15
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Let me know the next time you get appreciable snow in Memphis! LOL
Just when you thought you had me....
Born and raised in northern Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin, mother still lives in northern Wisconsin so we still visit three times a year.
I have lived through at least four snowfalls in Memphis over the years in excess of 10 inches. Just when you think you've seen it all, visit Memphis during an ice storm.
The Marine Corps helped me find two invaluable things in life: A DW of soon to be 48 years and a place to live where it seldom snows....VERY seldom.
Did I mention the ice storm problem in Memphis....
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Old 11-11-2019, 01:03 PM   #16
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Oh yes, Millington Tennessee. I was a jarhead in a former life and was enrolled in avionics. I invested a lot of money in this thing and I doubt that roof damage from heavy snow would be covered with warranty. I know it would be impractical for the dealerships to remove snow from hundreds of units and I suspect that they would get prompt repairs from Keystone (or a trade-out). I would have to go through the warranty department at the dealership. No one has yet told me that the warranty would cover it if it occurred. Now that the resident experts have assured me that damage is unlikely, I will probably let it sit on the roof unless it is super deep. If it is deep and wet, I won’t be able to remove it anyways. PS, Divide is about 12 miles from here.
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Old 11-11-2019, 01:30 PM   #17
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Oh yes, Millington Tennessee. I was a jarhead in a former life and was enrolled in avionics. I invested a lot of money in this thing and I doubt that roof damage from heavy snow would be covered with warranty. I know it would be impractical for the dealerships to remove snow from hundreds of units and I suspect that they would get prompt repairs from Keystone (or a trade-out). I would have to go through the warranty department at the dealership. No one has yet told me that the warranty would cover it if it occurred. Now that the resident experts have assured me that damage is unlikely, I will probably let it sit on the roof unless it is super deep. If it is deep and wet, I won’t be able to remove it anyways. PS, Divide is about 12 miles from here.
Their house is a chalet style, he retired military MP and worked in Cripple Creek at the jail for 20 yrs. Beautiful up there, the front looks out at Pike's Peak and the side looks out at the Continental Divide. They live in Deer Park, about 8 miles off the main Highway.

We visited one year in August and next morning they had 3" of snow. He told me they have 2 seasons. July and winter and we missed July.
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Old 11-11-2019, 05:26 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by notanlines View Post
The next time I see a dealership removing snow from ANY RV roof will be the FIRST time I've seen it. It simply doesn't happen.
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Let me know the next time you get appreciable snow in Memphis! LOL
A few things to consider:

Dealerships don't get trailers "on consignment". They buy them wholesale with money loaned by banks or other financial arrangements. If a dealership "loses" a trailer due to fire, flood, snow, theft, etc, they file through their insurance to cover the losses and order a replacement trailer from Keystone at the "regular wholesale price". Keystone is "done with the trailer" as soon as it's picked up at the transportation lot by a contractor who works for the dealership. Keystone doesn't provide transportation to the dealer's lot and they don't have any financial responsibility after the trailer leaves Goshen. So, there's no "dealer assistance from Keystone" if a trailer is destroyed on the dealership lot....

Average annual snowfall:
202"+ Houghton, MI
149"+ Marguette, MI
136"+ Gaylord, MI
118"+ Traverse City, MI
111"+ Petoskey, MI

All have RV dealerships and none of them have a "snow removal program" for RV's sitting on the lot.

We spent about half of last "early spring" in Millington at the Navy FamCamp. Nice place to visit, even in March/April. I remember one "ice storm" (actually a line of thunderstorms with a "hard freeze immediately after"... That was in the mid '80's. Having just left the UP on our way home (Louisiana) for Christmas, we "holed up early" in a motel halfway between Nashville and Memphis. When the sun came up, the interstate (I-40) was "littered with casualties"... There must have been over 100 cars, trucks, 18 wheelers of all shapes and sizes in the ditches, the median, on top of each other and generally blocking the road to all traffic. I walked to the local 7-11, bought a sack full of Stewart sandwiches, moon pies, orange juice and 2 cups of coffee. The 4 of us (DW, DD, DS and I) checked out of the motel after 2 days and carefully "threaded the carnage on the interstate" through Memphis. It wasn't until we got to near Jackson, MS that the scenery started to look "normal without wrecks"....

Around here, it's not uncommon to see RV's parked in yards and set up on "summer lots" with 3-4 feet of snow accumulation. If these aren't damaged, I doubt many will suffer serious damage from the snow. A "well intentioned owner" on the other hand, armed with a plastic snow shovel or a roof snow scoop, well that can lead to loads of damage, ranging from broken vent covers, air conditioner shrouds, cut TPO roofing, broken TV antennas and flooded RV's from the melting snow entering through all of those damaged parts as the weather warms in the spring.....

If it were me and my RV was parked outside, I'd leave the roof alone, if there is a problem with accumulation more than 3 or 4 feet, I'd pull off the top layers (staying well clear of the plastics on the roof) and if there's any damage in the spring, that's why I have insurance (not warranty)....

Honestly, on RV's built before the new RVIA tire standards, I'd be more concerned with overloading the tires and axles than with "crushing the roof".....
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Old 11-11-2019, 05:45 PM   #19
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I'd rather use my insurance on the RV and not my health insurance for a broken leg, or worse.
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:37 PM   #20
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I'd rather use my insurance on the RV and not my health insurance for a broken leg, or worse.
LOL, have to agree with you there.
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