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17 Divinity St
Bristol, CT, 06010
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8605895155

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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Articles

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

 

Filtering by Tag: connecticut

Take Care of Musty Basement Smells for a Healthy Home

Chelsea O'Donnell

A lot of people think that the musty smell in their basement is a common problem that goes hand in hand with having underground space in your home. Sure, basements are prone to high humidity which, when combined with darkness, can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. The smell that those mold spores emit can get into your clothes, furniture, storage, and your HVAC unit. If the problem does reach your air ducts and begins to infiltrate the rest of the house, that’s when you have a real issue on your hands. Before you get to that point, it’s a great idea to quite literally clear the air with a dehumidification and purification strategy. 

One of the best air quality units I’ve seen is by a company called Aerus.  They produce a system which uses NASA technology to remove pathogens, pollution, contaminants, and even pet dander from the air. It can work within an hour and is a great solution to get rid of that nasty mold smell. But without a solution to contain the humidity, the odor and the mold will keep coming back.

At this point, it’s time to reduce the moisture in the basement. Most homes want to keep a humidity level of 50% or lower, but in basements, the average humidity can often be higher than 80%, which is when mold and mildew can flourish. A dehumidification system will work to draw the moisture out of the air and into a holding tank, which often has to be dumped down a drain as often as daily depending on how quickly it gets filled. By removing the water from the air, you’re removing the odor-causing moisture and bacteria that allow mold to grow in the first place.

Finally, it’s time to purify the air. Overly humid areas attract a lot of bacteria, which is what causes the smell in the first place. That bacteria can live in walls and spread into your fabrics, furniture, and storage. By killing the bacteria in the air, you will remove contaminants that not only stink, but can also cause or irritate allergies, asthma, and immune system disorders.

When shopping for a basement air control system, be sure to look for a unit that has the EnergyStar seal, and make sure that you pay attention to the capacity of the air filtration as it pertains to your room size. If you have a big space with a lot of moisture, you might want to consider a unit that has a self-draining system to save your back and your patience.

Regardless of what kind of system you use, the air quality in your home should be taken seriously. If your kids are coughing or have allergies and you find yourself having difficulty breathing at home, it might be worth a call to your local contractor for an air quality inspection.

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to info@odonnellbros.com 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 http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.


It's Not Too Late To Reap The Benefits of a Veggie Patch

Chelsea O'Donnell

If you think late summer is the time to give your garden a rest, think again. This time of year is perfect to get late fall and winter veggies into the ground to enjoy a delicious harvest even when the frost sets in. For those of you with a green thumb or even if you regret not getting in the garden earlier this year, now is a great time to get planting. Let’s start with three basic tips.

First, make a note of the frost dates. A smart cool weather garden will thrive if it’s in the ground and has time to mature well before the daytime temperature starts to settle at around 55 degrees. The almanac has the first frost at around October 8th which means you have over a month to get your crops settled in. 

If you’ve decided on a fall garden, you might want to think about building a cold frame. You can buy one at a local hardware store, or make your own using plywood and plastic with holes for ventilation. For a small garden, a hinged plexiglass box will do the trick but for larger beds, consider heavy duty plastic sheeting.

Lastly, use this opportunity to give back to your garden and get it ready for next season. If you’re not too picky about what to plant or you aren’t interested in harvesting, consider a cover crop - a species that will improve the health of your soil, enhance your garden’s biodiversity, and keep pests and weeds at bay. Peas and beans are the best choices for veggies, and clover works really well too.

Once you’ve committed to a fall garden, the only decision left is what to plant! Some of my favorite vegetables do really well in the colder months so luckily you have tons to choose from. In terms of leafy greens, you have your pick with chard, kale, lettuce of all kinds and spinach. Other tough veggies like broccoli, beets, carrots, and radishes are plenty strong for these colder months.  My favorites roasting veg like fennel, parsnips, turnips, and Brussels sprouts also do incredibly well this time of year. And let’s not forget rhubarb for a delicious late season pie!

If you love all these veggies but can’t get yourself to commit to a late summer garden, don’t worry. Bookmark this for six months time and get excited to kick off the spring with an early planting. Happy Gardening!

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to info@odonnellbros.com 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 http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.


Kick Up Your Hammock Game for Summer Relaxation

Chelsea O'Donnell

This week’s oppressive heat had me daydreaming about relaxing in the cool shade in the comfort of my backyard hammock. If you’re a hammock fan, you know how wonderful it feels to swing freely, dozing effortlessly in the quiet comfort of nature. If a hammock isn’t your bag, it can only be that you haven’t found the perfect one to enjoy. So this week, in the spirit of the last month of summer, I’ve pulled together a guide of my favorite hammocks for every occasion to inspire readers to slow down and relax. 

For the Traditionalist

If you love the look of a classic rope hammock, you can’t go past Pawleys Island. Made in the USA, these hammocks are generous in size and come in a whole bunch of colors in case white isn’t your thing or if you’re worried about it getting dirty. $169. https://pawleysislandhammocks.com

For the Lovebirds

If you’re looking for comfort for two, the Hammock Sky Brazilian Double is a great pick for around the yard. Its solid canvas makeup goes with any decor and is 60 inches wide, making it big enough to easily accommodate two adults. I also love the lifetime warranty in case something goes awry. $50. www.amazon.com

For Serious Comfort

Hammock loyalists know that Hatteras is one of the best brands out there and their pillowtop line might just beat out your bed in terms of comfort. These hammocks look great on a stand by the pool, but I have to warn you, you may never want to leave it. Keep your barbecue close. From $349. https://hatterashammocks.com/products/hammocks/pillowtop

For On-The-Go

Hikers and campers love the Hummingbird which is light, tiny, and easy to hang almost anywhere. For the size of a coffee cup, you won’t believe that this thing holds 300 plus pounds, making it the perfect pack-along hammock for a day trip in the woods. $64. https://hummingbirdhammocks.com/

For Mosquito-Free Comfort

There is nothing worse than climbing into your hammock for a late afternoon snooze when mosquitoes start to attack. This is where G4Free comes in. With their built-in mosquito net, you can enjoy all the comforts of the great outdoors without the pesky bug bites. $28. http://www.g4free.com

For Sunny Spots

Hammocks get faded from too much sun exposure and mold is often an issue too. For a hammock that needs to withstand the elements, the Vivere Sunbrella is worth checking out. Sunbrella material reflects UV rays and is mildew and stain-resistant too. $179. https://www.vivereltd.com/18/brazilian-sunbrella-hammock-double

For Sitting Upright

Lay down hammocks are fantastic for snoozing, but reading the newspaper or even enjoying a cocktail can be a challenge. The Y-Stop Hammock Chair looks and feels like a traditional hammock but its upright design makes it ideal for mornings with your coffee and paper. $45. www.amazon.com

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 info@odonnellbros.com 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 http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.