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How to Keep the Snow off a Dome

How to Keep the Snow off a Dome


Air structures are amazing facilities for keeping the snow off soccer fields or tennis courts, but how do bubbles keep the snow off? Winter’s in Canada and the northern US tend to come with a lot of cold, ice, and snow. Domes can bring us a year-round playing surface, but how well do bubbles hold up against exposure to the wintery elements?


Quite well, actually! Snow removal is seldom necessary, but it’s still a simple procedure.


Climate Controlled Sport Facility


We’ve spoken about the carefully controlled internal climate of an air structure, but it still impresses how tightly controlled the system is. Air domes are able to control and monitor the air quality of all the air pumped into the structure, including the temperature. Powerful heaters keep domes at the perfect temperature, even in the coldest days of the winter.


Read more about heating a dome in our previous blogs.


Warming up the dome can keep winter at bay, but what happens when snow begins to pile up on the roof?


Snow Build Up on a Dome


Although, it may look like a giant igloo, air structures are seldom, if ever, covered in snow. Because of the sloped roof and steep angles of the sidewalls, most snow and ice just slides right off.


Sometimes though, when conditions are just right, snow can build up on a dome.


For anyone that has had to shovel out a snowed in driveway, it’s amazing how heavy something so seemingly light and fluffy can be. It doesn’t take much snow to start putting heavy pressure on any structure. No building can stop snow before it begins to pile up and brick and mortar buildings should be cleared of snow throughout the winter, especially flat roofed larger facilities. Heavy snow can damage roofing, and jeopardize structural integrity. You might have heard this story in the news where a Trader Joe’s store collapsed under the heavy snow that had built on top of it in Westfield, NJ.


Air structures have the potential to be even more susceptible to collapse because there is less keeping the roof up—only the internal air pressure. But domes rarely collapse. Why is this?


Even though domes cannot hold up as much weight, snow is rarely a problem because of how easy it is to get the snow off!

So how do bubbles shake off excess snow? The solution is simple. Let the dome droop a little by letting some air escape, then reinflate. Moving the dome in this way gets that snow or ice moving and it just slides right off. Just like a dog, shaking the snow off its back, domes can shrug off that snow and ice.


And if that doesn’t work, a rope pulled across the top of the dome by a couple of people can do the trick. Either way, snow buildup on a dome is not nearly as dangerous as a rigid structure building. The slow sagging of the roof is a dead giveaway that snow is building up. Rigid structures don’t have the benefit of a roof that can show how much weight it’s holding—until it’s too late, that is.


So there you have it. Snow poses barely any risk to a dome—as long as someone is paying attention. Keeping a close eye on your dome and making sure your inflation and heating systems are in proper working order are vital. Regular maintenance by The Farley Group will keep your air structure standing strong throughout the worst that winter has in store.

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