Shovels and snowmobiles are essential for the winter season, but one item every homeowner needs to protect themselves against mother nature is a roof rake.”It’s very important to clean your roof to eliminate those ice build ups on your roof,” says Hermon resident Steve Charette.Charette knows a thing or two about roof rakes.Ten years ago, his father invented one of his own after he stepped outside on a snowy day and slipped.”At first it was all out of metal with the tarp. It’s how it’s made. He hand makes them and then puts them together,” he said.His father makes them up north and Charette sells them here in Hermon.He says through word of mouth, they’ve become a big hit in Bangor and northern areas.This winter, demand has been even bigger.”Right now, we’re doing pretty good. I mean considering the big snows we’ve had, we’re keeping up so we’re doing very well.”So are local hardware stores. We spoke with folks at three stores who say they’re currently sold out.It’s proof that homeowners want to avoid any damage snow can cause.”Well what happens is eventually in the spring, when it does thaw out, it makes ice claims and the water backs up into the roofing and can cause leaks inside the house.”Ice and snow build up can also cause your roof to collapse.”Depending on how old the house is. Today’s homes are usually sound for that kind of weight load, but with the older homes of course, you run the danger of collapsing.”Charette says there’s a patent pending on his father’s product in hopes that one day it will reach store shelves.If you’d like to purchase a roof rake, you can contact Charette at 316-6052.