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17 Divinity St
Bristol, CT, 06010
United States

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: maintenance

Bob’s Favorite Fall Must-Haves for Easy Autumn Maintenance

Chelsea O'Donnell

The temperature is officially turning which means now is a great time to start getting ready for the rapid changing of seasons. There is nothing worse than being unprepared, so today I have compiled my list of the must-have products and services that you should invest in to keep your home clean, warm, and well maintained from now right through the winter. Let’s get to it.

Gutter Guards. Most homeowners don’t love the idea of getting up on a roof, but leaving your gutters to clog up with leaves can cause major problems as winter sets in. Gutter guards work as a shield over your gutters, allowing the water to pass through while repelling leaves, whirlybirds, twigs, and other potential blockages. I install gutter guards several times a week and it’s definitely not a one-size fits every house situation. Be sure to get a professional to come out and give you a recommendation before you buy.

Weatherstripping. If you have an older home, you likely feel a lot of air passing through your doors and windows. If you’re not quite ready for a full replacement, weatherstripping can help you to retain some of the heat in your home. Hardware stores generally carry felt, foam, and my personal favorite, vinyl tubing, which lasts the longest.  Most can be installed by a handy homeowner in just a few hours.

A Really Good Rake. Cleaning up the yard is backbreaking work, especially if you don’t have the right equipment. One of my favorite rakes is the Fiskars Leaf Rake with Cushioned Grip which has a wide head that can move a ton of leaves with one grab. Best of all, it’s under $20. If you have a lot of smaller areas, the Gardenite Adjustable Garden Leaf Rake is another great option to tackle tight spots.

A Cordless Blower. With a good rake should come a good blower, but many don’t have the power to blast wet leaves and move around the yard efficiently. I am loving the Powersmith 40V Max Battery-Powered Leaf Jet Blower which blows at 120 miles per hour and is cordless so I can get right to the very edges of my property. What’s really great is the cruise control so I don’t have to hold down the trigger to keep the machine at the right level of power.

A Furnace Inspection. It’s a good idea to make sure your furnace or boiler is in tip-top shape before the cold weather comes. Book an inspection now and be sure to change your filters to make sure everything is running smoothly. In addition to the peace of mind, a quick tune-up will help you save on your energy bills too.

A Great Snow Shovel. Connecticut winters are unpredictable so it’s a good idea to be ready. According to reviews, the True Temper 18-Inch Ergonomic Mountain Mover takes the cake with its 18-inch plastic scoop, curved shaft, and nylon leading edge which protects sensitive surfaces like a deck or patio. It’s not cheap at between $25 and $30, but a good shovel can last for years, so it’s well worth the investment.

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.

10 End of Summer Jobs for a Fantastic Fall

Chelsea O'Donnell

Summer may be coming to a close, but with the first day of autumn still a few weeks away, there is plenty of time to get your home and yard in tip-top shape before the cooler weather sets in. With the countdown on, I’ve rounded up the most important jobs for you to tackle to get ready for the fall. Let’s get busy!

Clean windows and inspect for gaps.

If you have window A/C units, tackle this job as you’re removing them. Windows are a prime culprit for heat loss, so have a look at all the windows in your home to see if you have any gaps. Small cracks and crevices can be sealed with caulk, but you’ll want to fill larger gaps with insulation or expandable foam. If you have single pane aluminum windows and you’re freezing every winter, it might be time for an upgrade.

Clean and store outdoor furniture.

If furniture is left outdoors during the winter, it will likely crack, split or rust depending on the material.  Before you turn it in for the winter, be sure to clean it well to avoid rot or damage and check for signs of mold and mildew. A thorough wash with hot soapy water or household cleaner will do the trick.

Reseal your deck.

The summer sun can be brutal on your deck, but so is the onset of snow, sleet, and freezing rain that we can expect over the next several months. Protect your wood by removing any leaves, sticks and those pesky helicopters, and follow it up with a good power wash. When the wood is dry, apply a protective sealant to condition the deck and help it stand up to winter.

Inspect your doors and apply weatherstripping.

Just like your windows, your doors are prime areas for air leaks. Inspect the areas around your doors and make sure they are airtight by repairing any old weatherstripping or broken door sweeps. Heating a home all winter costs a lot of money so don’t make it more expensive than it should be. An energy efficient home is a happy home.

Patch that leaky roof.

If the summer rain uncovered a leak in your ceiling or attic, don’t wait to have it looked at. The unpredictable winter can be a disaster for a roof that’s already damaged, so don’t hold out until it’s too late. Often times a small repair can stop the problem in its tracks.

Clean your gutters and check for clogs.

We’re in for a stellar leaf peeping season, but for homeowners that also means a lot of headaches in the clean-up department. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are prepared for the seasonal shed and flush everything through to ensure the water flow-through is up to par.

Get adequate insulation.

If you’re dreading another teeth-chattering winter, it’s time to add some insulation to your home. Over 75 percent of the houses that I visit in our area don’t have enough insulation and because of it, I get too many calls from frozen homeowners wondering what they can do. Insulation is inexpensive to install, can be done in less than a day and adds more to the resale value of your home than any other project. This one is a no-brainer.

Scrub out your garbage cans.

As the cold sets in, our furry friends get more desperate for food and will start visiting your trash looking for a free meal. Their sense of smell is uncanny so make sure your bins are cleaned out and future garbage is bagged properly. You don’t want rodents making their homes too close to yours.

Replace your air filters.

If your A/C has been cranking all summer, it’s a great time to clean and/or replace your air filtration systems. While you’re at it, have a look at all your vents including the dryer and remove any built-up debris. The harder those appliances have to work, the more they are going to cost you.

Inspect the hot water heater.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Check your water heater for any decay or sediment build-up and be on the lookout for leaks or faulty pipes. If you have an inkling that the unit might be on the fritz, call in a pro for a routine inspection. It’s better to be safe than sorry come winter.

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.

Get Your Gutters Cleaned Before Autumn Leaves Fall

Chelsea O'Donnell

It may only be the third week of August, but soon we will be seeing the early signs of autumn. Do you know what that means? Every homeowner’s favorite job, leaf maintenance, is right around the corner.

Over the next two months, leaves, branches, and other debris will begin falling onto your roof and down into your gutters, building up over time. As winter approaches, this buildup can contribute to the formation of ice dams, a heavy mass of ice that settles on the edge of your roof where the gutters are installed.

The main job of a gutter is to create a pathway for water to move away from your home and through a downspout to deposit in a safe place away from your home’s foundation. This system is vital to a house; it makes sure water can flow freely and not cause leaks in your roof, attic, and walls. But if your gutters are blocked up, the water has nowhere to go and has no choice but to flow over, creeping up into your roof shingles and down through your siding. This kind of damage is both costly to repair and entirely preventable - so get your gloves on and let’s get to it.

To give your gutters a good clean you’ll need a ladder, a lawn bag or bucket, a small hand rake (or scoop) and a hose. Don’t be tempted to spray debris down the downspout with water; it’s likely that branches and leaves will get stuck inside, clogging it up and leaving you with a whole new mess to deal with.  Start at the downspout opening and work your way backward, collecting gunk away from the downspout and disposing it into your bucket. Work in small sections and don’t let your bag get too heavy – it could throw you off balance and land you in the emergency room.

While you’re making your way around the house, check for any gutter damage, such as sections coming loose. You want to make sure you get those fixed while the weather is good. Once you’ve finished the cleaning, you can give each section a good spray with the hose to check and make sure the water is running through and you don’t have any hidden build-up in those downspouts.

If gutter cleaning is a job you’d rather not take on, hire a contractor to complete the maintenance and then speak to them about putting gutter guards on your home. These wire or mesh overlays are installed on top of the gutter and prevent debris from entering the channel in the first place. They offer a great solution to a messy job and will provide you with peace of mind for years to come. You’ll want to get them installed now before the first signs of autumn to make sure your home is prepared for the onset of fall leaves.

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.