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17 Divinity St
Bristol, CT, 06010
United States


Since 1975, O'Donnell Bros has been providing greater Bristol and Central Connecticut with residential and commercial remodeling solutions. We specialize in roofing, siding, windows, doors, gutters, downspouts and so much more. We look forward to helping you with all your remodeling needs. 

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O'Donnell Bros President, Bob O'Donnell, is a regular contributor to The Bristol Press. Read his home improvement articles here.


Filtering by Tag: chores

Rent a Pressure Washer for the Day and Clean All Around the House

Chelsea O'Donnell

I think we can all agree that no one likes chores, especially cleaning. This time of year is especially tough since we want our yard and garden to look its best despite the pollen that just keeps on coming. Luckily, I have a trick that will help you make light of all the hard work around the house - heck you might even have a little fun.

The secret, my friends, is the pressure washer! I am lucky enough to own one of these handy machines but you can grab one for yourself for between $30-40 for the day and say goodbye to dirt, mold, and caked on debris. Here are just a few of my favorite ways to use it.

The Patio. The winter can be tough on stone or concrete patios and wood decks, but months worth of dirt is no match for a pressure washer. Forget the sweeping and scrubbing - a once over with a 2,000 pounds per square inch machine will have your backyard looking as good as new. If you’re thinking about refinishing your surfaces, make this your first step to get everything as clean as possible. Just leave plenty of drying time.

The Patio Furniture. Once the deck is done, the patio furniture is next. I store mine in the shed over the winter, but even in storage, everything tends to get a bit grimy and moldy with the moisture in the air. I love pulling everything out, wetting it down, and giving it a good scrub with some Spray Nine. Because it doesn’t contain any corrosive chemicals, you can use it right in the grass without having to worry about killing your lawn. Rinse with the pressure washer and your furniture will sparkle.

The Car. A car wash is convenient but they never quite get into the nooks and crannies like you can if you’re doing it yourself. Of course, a manual wash is time-consuming and with the pollen in the air, it’s nearly impossible to keep the car clean for longer than a few days. This is another reason why I love the pressure washer! It gets grease and gunk right off the tires and tough to reach places and it’s so easy and fast! Just be sure to use a lighter setting such as 1,400 PSI so you don’t dent the exterior.

The House. I love vinyl siding because it’s so low maintenance, but it’s not a bad idea to give the house a good spray down every once in a while. A pressure washer can be used everywhere from the roof to the shutters and will make your siding looks like it’s brand new again. It’s just as easy as using a hose, but so much more effective. You can use it on brick or stone exteriors too - and don’t forget the windows!

The Gutters. If you’re getting up on the roof, you mind as well get the gunk out of those gutters. A pressure washer makes this job easy but the clean-up from the ground can be a bit of a mess so make sure that you look for an angled attachment that will help you control the debris. If you can get it all towards the downspout, you can either run it through and down or pull everything out in easier to manage sections.

One thing to remember before renting your pressure washer is that they do come in either electric or gas models. Electric machines are generally reserved for lighter jobs around the house while gas models have a bit more oomph. Before you choose your machine, make sure to chat with an expert at the store about what kind of jobs you have in mind. Too much power might damage your goods; too little will make you wish you stuck to the hose and saved yourself a few bucks.

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob to with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit Advice is for guidance only.

If You Only Do Three Things To Get Ready For Winter….

Chelsea O'Donnell

Since the weather has been pretty pleasant this autumn, lots of people have put off the household jobs that will help them prepare for winter. Are you one of them? If so, listen up. I hate the be the bearer of bad news, but in the very near future, we are going to begin to see the weather make a turn for the worse. So now is the time to get prepared. If you do nothing else, knock off these three simple jobs this weekend.


Clean those gutters. The leaves are finally falling, so it’s time to get rid of them and make way for the snow and ice. If you don’t remove debris from your gutters, it will prevent winter water from flowing off the roof and down away from the foundation. If water has nowhere to go, it will refreeze in your gutters and at the base of your roof, resulting in dangerous ice dams and potential leaks in your home. A gutter cleaning can be handled by a handy homeowner or a professional cleaner in just a few hours. I’ve been busy installing gutter guards all over town, which is a popular choice if you don’t like the idea of dealing with this job every autumn. Regardless of how you choose to tackle this task, you have to keep your gutters clean. The alternative is a potentially expensive bill for a roof replacement or to fix interior damage come spring.


Seal up the air holes. I get calls all winter long from people who are wondering why their house is so drafty. The cause can be many things but generally, the culprit is the lack of proper insulation in an attic. While insulation installation is an easy improvement with an excellent resale value, there are even simpler jobs you can complete yourself to keep warm this winter. First, install an insulated box to cover the hatchway that leads from your living space up into the attic. If you don’t have insulation, your attic will be freezing and all that cold air will be seeping into the house. A box made from heavy duty insulated foam board will do some of the work to block the airflow from the attic into your home, although it is just a temporary fix. Also, don’t forget to remove your air conditioning units from the windows. Many people leave them in all year long which makes it easy for cold air to flow right through the house. Finally, if you don’t use your fireplace during the winter, get that sealed too. Any passageways from the inside to the outside can act as wind tunnels when the frigid winter air comes calling.


Turn off outdoor faucets.  You won’t be watering the yard anymore this year so you have no reason to keep outdoor faucets on. People often forget and leave them on all year round which can lead to frozen pipes that can burst and leave you with a nasty plumbing bill. Drain all hoses and put them in the basement so they don’t get damaged and make sure any faucets or fixtures are in good condition and not leaking.


If you do just these three things this weekend, you’ll be in much better shape when the wicked weather finally decides to come our way. Plus it’s much more pleasant to get these jobs out of the way before the deep freeze sets in. Good luck and as always, don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help or advice.

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit Advice is for guidance only.