Once the Ice dam is there , I have been helping my customers , as I have a small business ; by drilling 1 1/2" holes directly above gutters , approximately 1 to 2 inches deep . Then iprceed to fill those dixie cup sized holes with ice melt. This can free up the eaves enough to enable cleaning . At the very least it can help free up the gutter for its intended purpose . P.S. Use a cordless drill for saftey , and don"tdrill through the eaves trough .