Some quick fixes for an ice dam on a roof are using a rake or deicer. Hammers and chisels for ice removal may also be useful for ice removal, but these tools should be utilized carefully to avoid roof damage, as noted by the This Old House website. Although these quick fixes can help with ice dams, it is also necessary to prevent this from happening in the future because ice dams can cause damage to the roof shingles and gutters.
An ice dam is an ice ridge that forms at a roof's edge that does not allow melting snow from draining off the home's roof. The main cause for an ice dam is heat that escapes into areas of the attic or roof spaces, leading to melting snow that refreezes in roof eaves. A quick fix for this is to use a box fan and direct cold air in a section of the attic where there is water seeping through from the roof.
Another quick fix is to use a roof rake with a long handle to remove the ice, but this can be hazardous and requires care to prevent accidents, including falling ice that damages plants or other property. To deice the roof, another suggestion is to fill a nylon pantyhose leg with calcium chloride and place it across the ice dam in a vertical position to create a trough for water to drain from the roof.
To prevent the formation of ice dams, homeowners should ensure that the attic is well insulated and has sufficient ventilation, as noted by the Family Handyman site. This can require capping an attic hatch and adding roof and soffit vents.