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Home Management Inside Your Home Real Estate Uncategorized

Energy Saving Tips for the Summer

Saving energy at home used to be an afterthought, but as the times have changed, it’s come to the forefront of the minds of homeowners. There are several small things you can do; it often just takes a few tweaks. With that in mind, we’ve gathered 6 low-cost tips for your home to reduce its carbon footprint and lower your monthly energy bills:

  • Lighting is one of the easiest places to save energy. Replacing your five most frequently used light fixtures with “Energy Star” qualified bulbs can save more than $65 a year in energy costs. (energystar.gov )
    • Remember to always turn off your lights when leaving a room. Turning off just one 60-watt incandescent bulb that would otherwise burn eight hours a day can save about $15 per year! (energystar.gov)
  • Electronics such as cell phones and laptop computer chargers account for 15% of your rental home’s energy consumption and electrical use.
    • Unplug any battery chargers or power adapters when not in use (like your cell phone or laptop computer charger).
    • Use a power strip as a central “turn off” point when you are done using the equipment.
    • Using a power strip for your computer and other peripheral equipment allows you to completely disconnect the power supply from the power source, eliminating standby power consumption.
  • To keep out the Arizona heat from the summer sun, close window shades and blinds during the hot weather.
  • Save water by scraping dishes instead of rinsing them before loading in the dishwasher. Run your dishwasher and use the air-dry option if available.
    • To make the most efficient use of your dishwasher’s energy and water consumption, run the dishwasher only when enough dirty dishes have accumulated for a full load.
  • Wash your laundry with cold water whenever possible. To save water, try to wash full loads or, if you must wash a partial load, reduce the level of water appropriately.
    • Hot water heating accounts for about 90% of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes. Only 10 % goes to the electricity used by the washer motor. (energystar.gov)
    • Switching to cold water can save the average household more than $40 annually with an electric water heater and more than $30 annually with a gas water heater. (energystar.gov)
    • Washing full loads can save you more than 3,400 gallons of water each year. (energystar.gov)
  • Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your dryer has a moisture sensor, it will automatically turn the machine off when clothes are done. Use it to avoid over-drying.
    • Remember to clean out the lint trap before every load.
    • Dry full loads or reduce drying time for partial loads.
    • Take advantage of Arizona’s warm, dry climate by using a drying rack to hang-dry clothing. This also extends the life of your garments.
Categories
Community Engagement Local Events Outdoor recreation Things to Do

Splash Pad Grand Re-Opening!

The Splash Pad has been one of the cornerstones of the Fountain Park for over a decade now as one of the best places for kids’ recreation in town. It has been under construction for nearly a year now for a total revamp. This Thursday, the wait is over: The Splash Pad is re-opening for the summer!

Fountain Hills Community Services invites the public to join them “for a short, but much-anticipated ribbon cutting at 8:15am, Thursday, May 26 at the Rotary Splash Pad.” The ceremony will feature thanks to the supporters of the revamp project and a “First Splash” to declare the Rotary Splash Pad open for the summer season!

The Rotary Splash pad is located at 17000 E El Lago Blvd at the Fountain Park’s southwest corner. After the grand re-opening, it will be open daily from 9:00 AM until sunset, every day for the duration of the summer.

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Home Management Local Businesses Real Estate

Vendor Spotlight: AJF Inspections

AJF Inspections provides our clients’ homes with every type of inspection you could possibly need to make sure the infrastructure of the building is in great shape. Watch the video above to learn more about what services AJF can provide you.

Remember to subscribe to the RE/MAX Sun Properties YouTube channel for regular updates on homes, vendors, and local events!

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Home Management Inside Your Home Real Estate

5 Home Tips for Empty Nesters

Entering the Empty Nester phase of life will either leave you in a puddle of tears or feeling excitement for the next chapter of their life…and yours. Perhaps you feel both ends of the emotional spectrum.

That chapter is inevitable. And it opens many options when it comes to your home. While some people choose to downsize after the kids move out, some people want to stay in their homes.

As you rethink your home, what changes do you want to make that reflect this new chapter? You have probably spent years defining your decorating decisions based on the needs of your children. It is time to look at your home with fresh eyes to decide how to make it fit your new needs and wants moving forward.

REORGANIZE AND DECLUTTER

This is often the most emotional step after becoming an Empty Nester. Take it at a pace that is comfortable for you, going room by room to purge closets and get rid of things that no longer serve a purpose. Create a keepsake box that you can send along with your kids to their new homes and keep a keepsake box for yourself if there are things you are not ready to part with.

Take a good look at the items in each room. What items will you still use? What things do you still love and want to keep? Everything else can be sold or donated. If you need ideas to help you decide what items you could move out the door, CLICK HERE.

TACKLE THAT RENOVATION

When you are busy raising kids, there never seems to be enough time to tackle the renovations you have wanted to make. Now you can transform your home to meet your needs while also creating more resale value for the future. Kitchens and bathrooms are the best places to spend renovation money.

RECLAIM THE BACKYARD

Now that the backyard no longer needs to function as a playground, you can transform it into an outdoor retreat. Add an outdoor kitchen for entertaining, hang a swing to relax in the shade, and add the landscaping you avoided when your kids were kicking a ball around the yard.

RETHINK EMPTY BEDROOMS

Now that you have empty bedrooms in your home, think about how you want to live in your home going forward. Perhaps you want an exercise room, a hobby or craft room, or a luxurious guest room. Find inspiration on great sites like Houzz, Amber Interiors, and of course, Pinterest.

UPDATE LARGER SPACES

Our large spaces were great areas where the kids and their friends could gather to build forts, eat pizza, and play games. One or two adults will not use a large space the way you did when kids were always around. Add a coffee bar, a wine cabinet, or a bistro area. Trade your sectional for a cozy sofa for cuddling your partner.

If you get stuck or struggle with rethinking your home without kids, consider a professional organizer. We recommend Caitlyn Estes with Project Genesis.

Categories
Yard and Garden

Gardening Through the Seasons

The heat is rising, and the harvests from your spring crops are giving out their last bounties. Many valley residents garden in the spring only to give up in the summer. There is, however, another way. Gardening in the summer can be just as rewarding as in the spring.

            We asked Rita Applegate, Garden Manager of the Fountain Hills Community Garden, for some advice on growing crops through the transition from the warm springs to the hot summers and beyond here in the Phoenix area.

Shade and Watering

As the temperature increases, so does the amount of water and shade required to keep plants happy. To avoid sunburn on hot summer days, “you’re going to want a shade cloth with 50% coverage,” Rita recommends. Hotter temperatures also means that most crops will need more water to hold together during the summer. The average bed at the FH Community Garden will increase its watering from 10 minutes, twice a day to 15-30 minutes, twice a day.

Best Crops for a Summer Harvest

Many of the crops planted in the spring take time to develop and need to survive through the summer to reach maturity. Snap peas, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, onions, pumpkins, summer squashes, and sunflowers are some good examples. When it comes to choosing between seeds and starters, Rita says “after May 15th, only plant seeds. This lets plants acclimate to their surroundings, especially for cantaloupe, watermelon, and squash.”

Protecting from Birds and Bunnies

When it gets hotter, the birds and bunnies will have more motivation to tear up your garden for water and nutrients. Bird netting is a popular solution, but netting is known to accidentally trap and kill unsuspecting birds. Rita suggests a fabric called Tulle. Cover a garden bed with Tulle and leave a vent hole towards the top wide enough for bees and butterflies to safely travel through.

Refreshing Soil

Rita typically harvests three times a year, so she revitalizes her soil three times a year. She prefers Kellogg Garden Organics’ Amend Garden Soil, along with mushroom compost and steer manure. Minerals such as Azomite are vital for healthy plant growth in any irrigated bed. She also recommends fertilizing with an organic fertilizer like Happy Frog on the 1st and 15th of every month.

Seeds

Rita is a strong proponent of saving seeds. “Saving seeds promotes biodiversity and improves the hardiness of your plants over time.” By saving the seeds left by your best-performing plants, your chances of even better harvests next time increase greatly. Be sure to keep seeds in a cool, dry space in an air-tight container, like a mason jar or envelope.

Go to FountainHillsCommunityGarden.com for educational materials on desert gardening.

“Happy gardening! Gardening is work, but it’s a great therapy, that will feed and nourish you in so many great ways.” – Rita Applegate

Categories
Home Management Real Estate

Exterior Lighting That Preserves the Night Sky

As our cities grow larger and our lights get brighter, many urban and suburban areas are losing their view of the night sky. Light pollution even keeps us from seeing the Milky Way during summer nights. In January 2018, Fountain Hills responded to this problem and became the world’s 17th International Dark Sky Community.

Light pollution can completely obfuscate the stars at night.

Although municipal lighting codes are vital for dark sky preservation, homeowners can also take steps to minimize their contribution to light pollution. Use these simple and inexpensive tips:

  • Shielded lighting. Light fixtures should shield the light to direct it downward where it is needed and prevent it from polluting the sky with scattered light.
  • Warmer color temperature. New LED technology gives us warmer colored lights that are easier on the eyes and reduce light scatter. Cool temperature lights can cause temporary night blindness for drivers and disrupt melatonin levels that affect healthful sleep. They also scatter light from air particles, adding to our light pollution.
  • Avoid uplighting. Landscaping lights that point upward to illuminate trees and buildings are an unnecessary culprit of light pollution. Illuminate your yard with creative positioning and fixtures for a pleasing effect that is environmentally sensitive.
  • Control lighting. Separately zoned lights with timers, motion sensors, and dimmers allow lights to be on only when needed or to be turned down as necessary.
  • Refrain from light trespassing. Many municipalities restrict light that trespasses onto a neighbor’s property or into the street. Better light positioning and shielding keep light right where you want it.

Light pollution has been linked to endangering wildlife and harming human health. Wildlife becomes disoriented in navigating direction and knowing day from night. Human circadian rhythms (wakefulness and sleep) become disrupted and cancer risk is increased. Smart lighting practices protect our health as much as it does the views of the night sky.

When it comes to safety, the Chicago Alley Lighting Project found that when alley lighting was increased from 90-watts to 250- watts, crimes in those areas increased. Smart lighting directs light to where it is needed and creates a wonderful balance between safety and starlight.

Dark sky-compliant lighting is not about diminishing safety or aesthetics, but about smarter practices for better health, a better environment, and a chance for future generations to enjoy a view of the stars.

For more information about dark sky-friendly lighting and the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association, visit http://fhdarksky.com/

Categories
Real Estate

The Sonoran Lifestyle Team is One of Phoenix’s Top Producers!

Phoenix Magazine recently released their “Best of Phoenix” Awards for distinguished real estate agents and teams from across the Valley. The Magazine describes this segment in its May 2022 Edition as an “exclusive resource to find the Valley’s highest-performing agents, from brokerage-provided lists of top producers to our annual editorial round-up of the most creative, dependable agents in Greater Phoenix.”

In the magazine’s Top Real Estate Profiles segment, which can be viewed by clicking here, the Sonoran Lifestyle Team was honored as one of “Phoenix’s Top Producers” for 2022!

The Team was listed with the Gold Group of Phoenix Top Producers, for teams with 3-5 members who sold more than $35 million in the past year. In 2021, The Team assisted over 80 families in the purchase and sale of Fountain Hills area properties, for over $60 million in production, well above the threshold for the Gold Group. For this, a whole page was dedicated to the achievements and unique qualities of the Team that make them stand out from the crowd.

If you’re looking to buy or sell and would like to work with one of Phoenix’s top-producing teams, head to SonoranLifestyle.com to learn more about the team, receive a free home valuation, see listings in the area, read about what’s going on around town, and more!

The Phoenix Magazine can be viewed at PhoenixMag.com.

Categories
Home Management Real Estate

Our Favorite Local Air Conditioning Service Providers

As the temperatures rise, you’re going to want to make sure that your home’s air conditioning is in its best condition. Luckily, we have some recommendations for local businesses that can help you with your A/C unit.

When one of our clients’ homes needs air conditioning servicing, here’s who we call:

A Savings

A Savings is a local air conditioning service founded by Jason Steele, who wanted to create an A/C service company based on fair and moral values with quality workmanship. If you live in or around Fountain Hills, you probably see their trucks with the notable chicken and the slogan “Keep Your Cool without losing your feathers!”

The technicians at A Savings know Air Conditioning systems down to the smallest detail. From system checks to installations to routine maintenance and repairs, they’ve got you covered!

To schedule an appointment with A Savings, head to ASavingsAir.com.

Shadrach Plumbing & Cooling

Shadrach Plumbing & Cooling was created in 2021 when Josh and Christina Thompson acquired Fountain Hills’ Luker Plumbing. They specialize in both air conditioning and general plumbing, offering free estimates and 365/24/7 emergency services! Shadrach will handle all your installation, repair, replacement, and maintenance needs for your home’s air conditioning.

To schedule an appointment with Shadrach, head to ShadrachPlumbingCooling.com.

Categories
Local Events

Celebrate the Class of ’22 at the FHHS Graduation!

On Friday, May 27th, the town comes together at the amphitheater of the Fountain Park to celebrate the achievements of the Fountain Hills High School Class of 2022!

The ceremony begins at 7:30PM as the graduating seniors begin their walk to the amphitheater. As is tradition, speeches from the valedictorian, salutatorian, and a teacher of the seniors’ choice, will take place before the diplomas are handed out.

Feel free to come to show your support for the Class of 2022! Bring chairs or picnic blankets and join hundreds of Fountain Hills residents in supporting our local kids as they begin their journey to college and beyond!

Categories
Local Events Outdoor recreation Things to Do

Movie in the Park Rescheduled for 5/13!

The Fountain Hills Movie in the Park was originally scheduled to take place this past Saturday, however, due to strong winds, the event has been set for this Friday, May 13th!

For over a decade now, the Fountain Hills Movie in the park has been a tradition for local kids and families. As the school year comes to an end, the fun begins with a G-Rated Movie on a big screen at the park. This time around, the movie will be the hit 2021 Disney film “Encanto.”

In previous years, the Movie in the Park was held at the Fountain Park, but this year it is slated to take place on the green of Four Peaks Park. This space is perfect for kids to play games, for food trucks to offer snacks and meals, and for the movie to be played unobstructed.

As sponsors of the Town of Fountain Hills Community Services, the Sonoran Lifestyle Team at RE/MAX Sun Properties will be at this May’s Movie in the Park giving out hacky-sacks to the kids. Be sure to bring a picnic blanket and be ready for a fun family night out!