When icicles and ice blocks form around your gutters, it can be a challenge to get rid of them. Knocking icicles off yourself or blocks of ice suddenly being dislodged from the gutters could hurt you or cause damage to your home. Homeowners use many ways to get rid of icicles and ice dams, including heat tape, chisels, ice picks, and hot water. It is never a good idea to try to remove icicles or ice dams on your own, especially if you have no idea on how to do so properly, because doing so could damage your roofing or gutters.
A safer way to get ice or icicles off of your home's roof, as long as they’re not too big or thick, is to use an aluminum roof rake. These rakes have long two-handed handles so you can stand on the ground and use the rake to pull snow and ice off the bottom 6-8 feet of your home's roof. This prevents the thaw/refreeze cycle that creates icicles and ice dams.
You can also prevent ice dams by hiring professional roofers to install a different type of roof, one on which no ice dams can form. Another option for preventing ice dams and icicles is to improve your attic's insulation. Better insulation and more ventilation will help stop attic heat from melting snow and ice which can then refreeze at night. Your roofers can also add additional fiberglass roll insulation or you could choose to have sprayed foam or another type of insulation installed. Soffit vents can also help release hot air from your attic so that it doesn’t cause icicle formation or the snow on your roof to melt.
How to Prevent and Remove Ice Dams, HomeRepair.about.com
How to Get Rid of Ice Dams, This Old House