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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: gain

What To Look For When Shopping For an Energy Efficient Entry Door

Chelsea O'Donnell

Many people don’t give much thought to their front door, which is surprising considering that it both sets the tone for a home and is a huge contributor to its overall comfort level.

If you’re in the market for a new entry door, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration beyond just color and style. I’m a huge fan of energy efficiency and all too often, I see homeowners losing massive amounts of hot and cold air through ill-fitting old doors with little insulation. Luckily, consumers have some great resources in their corner which can make choosing a new door a real breeze.

Energy performance is often measured by ENERGY STAR®, the symbol created by the Environmental Protection Agency to measure energy efficiency here in the United States. Another label you may see is from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), which independently tests and certifies products to give consumers more transparency around efficiency. Both of these rating systems rely on several vital performance contributors that you’ll want to pay attention to. Let’s take a closer look.

  1. U-Factor measures how well the product keeps heat from escaping a room, which is vital to our cold winters. It’s important to look for a low number here, which identifies a high performing product. Ratings generally range from 0.20-1.20.

  2. Solar Heat Gain Coefficient or (SHGC) measures the opposite. This rating helps a homeowner to know how well a product can resist heat gain, which is crucial in the summer. Again, the lower the number, the better - with 0-1 being the range for this measurement.

  3. Air Leakage is exactly what it sounds like and if you’ve ever stood next to a door with worn weatherstripping, you’ll know how important it is. Look for a product with a low air leakage rating, generally expressed in units of cubic feet per minute per square foot of the frame area (cfm/ft2). This measure is also highly dependent on the installation of the product, so having a knowledgeable installer is critical.

  4. Sunlight is another important factor which is measured through Visible Transmittance or VT. VT is a fraction of the visible spectrum of sunlight that is transmitted through the glazing of a door and weighted by the sensitivity of the human eye. This is measured in nanometers on a scale of 0 to 1. The lower the number, the less the light is transmitted.

  5. Finally, Light-to-Solar Gain (LSG) is the ratio of SHGC to VT and helps homeowners understand how light is transmitted relative to heat gain. The higher the number, the more light that is transmitted without adding heat. This number isn’t always provided but can be useful depending on the positioning of your door and its exposure to the sun.

Don’t forget, exterior doors should look great, but their key function is to provide a barrier against the elements. When you’re shopping for one, keep these factors in the forefront of your mind and you’ll be taking all the steps necessary to maintain your family’s comfort for years to come.

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.

Beat That Turkey Belly With This Post-Thanksgiving Exercise Routine

Chelsea O'Donnell

With the biggest eating holiday of the year behind us, now is a great time to get in a healthy habit of regular exercise to help fight off that holiday weight and get you feeling your best.

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the average Thanksgiving Day dinner packs in a whopping 3,000 calories which means that the average 160-pound person would have to run at a moderate pace for four hours, swim for five hours or walk 30 miles just to burn it off. That’s a lot of exercise for just one meal!

I love to indulge just like most people, but I also like to get back into my regular routine as quickly as possible. I usually start my day with a brisk walk or jog around Rockwell Park in Bristol, and this morning was no different. We all love to feast on Thanksgiving treats, but getting back on track quickly is the best way to ensure that your turkey belly doesn’t continue growing through the New Year. A 20-minute walk or jog gets the blood pumping and it helps to energize you for the rest of the day ahead.

While I am walking, I like to take hand weights and incorporate squats into my routine. I stand with my feet shoulder width apart and push down into a sitting position with my knees bent. Three sets of ten squats are usually enough to get the glutes fired up and they help me forgive myself for that extra slice of pumpkin pie.

Next, I like to move into lunges which are a fantastic exercise for strengthening the thighs. I do mine while walking which helps to improve balance which is key as we approach ski season. Lunges are easy to do - just take a big step forward and bend both knees at the same time, returning to standing when your knees are bent at 90 degrees. Try five on each side to begin and do three sets to really feel the burn.

For the upper body, I like to alternate pushups and tricep dips to get the muscles in my arms, back, and shoulders fired up. If you’re not used to push-ups, you can modify your positioning by starting on your knees which will make it a little easier to do them in proper form. For tricep dips, you can use a sturdy chair, bench or table that will hold your weight, but I like to use the outdoor exercise equipment in the park.

Then we come to that turkey belly. I often lay on my back and slowly raise my legs up to the sky before lowering them down again in sets of 10 repetitions. Then there is the plank, which can be done simply by getting in push up position and holding the body in place with the elbows against the torso and the back, glutes, and legs all in alignment. Try holding your plank for 30 seconds at first and then you can work your way up to two minutes.

With the holidays now in full swing, it can be easy to let your normal routine fall by the wayside in favor of sweet treats and deliciously lavish dinners. But if you keep your exercise up and enjoy the foods of the festive season in moderation, you’ll be much better off when it’s time to make that New Year’s resolution.

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.