Tips to Reduce Energy Consumption with Central AC Use in Arizona

TIPS TO REDUCE ENERGY CONSUMPTION WITH CENTRAL AC USE

Home heating and/or cooling, depending on where you live, are your largest home energy consumption activities. Here in Arizona it is certainly home cooling. Here is our extensive list of tips to greatly reduce your energy consumption via central air conditioning. You may not be able to use all these tips but you could certainly employ a number of them.

THERMOSTAT CONTROL

A house that is slightly cooler than the outside feels far more comfortable than you might think. Relative temperatures can go a long way. So when it’s 100 degrees outside there is no need to try to create a 60 degree environment inside. 77 or 78 degrees Fahrenheit is only slightly above ideal room temperature and can be plenty comfortable when it’s far hotter outside. Your AC system will not need to work as hard to maintain that kind of temperature.

Use Digital Thermostats – they are more accurate and can be programmable to set different temperatures for certain times of the day.

Dial down your thermometer a couple degrees at night – cooler evening temps make for a better sleeping environment and it easier for your system to bring temperatures down a bit more in the cool night air.

Dial it up a few more degrees for times of the day when there is usually nobody home. A cold house does not keep you cool if you’re not there.

Don’t position heat-producing appliances, such as televisions or lamps, near the thermostat. The added heat can fool your thermostat, causing the unit to run longer than necessary.

CRANKING YOUR THERMOSTAT WAY DOWN DOES NOT SPEED UP HOW FAST YOUR HOUSE COOLS DOWN!!

Don’t do this. It does not work. AC units only have two settings – off and on. When your thermostat detects your house has warmed too far past your setting the AC unit kicks in and will run until the thermostat detects the house has cooled enough. Cranking it farther than usual means it just runs the same but probably for longer since you’ll have a tendency to forget to turn it back up, meaning you’ve let it run too long and consumed more energy than you needed too.

CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING MAINTENANCE

The central AC unit is the largest energy draw. Old and poorly maintained equipment draws far more energy.

Replace old air conditioners with a modern high efficiency Energy Star unit – they use a lot less energy (up to 40%)

Choose the right size air conditioner – too small a unit will struggle to keep up and run constantly, too large a unit will cool your home too fast and frequently be turning off and on while not doing enough to reduce humidity.

Check the air filters on your AC system – replace them on schedule. Dirty and clogged filters cause the system to work harder, using more energy.

Schedule a yearly maintenance with your HVAC contractor to ensure your units are running at peak efficiency.

Keep your air conditioner out of the sun – install on shady side of house or at least have it protected by shrubs or a partial wall or fence

REDUCE SOLAR HEAT INPUTS

The sun will heat any object it shines upon and that includes the inside of your home. These tips will help reduce solar heating as well as save your flooring and furniture from fading.

Close curtains on windows facing the sun

Install thermal liners on your curtains – they reflect more of the heat back out the window

Install window tinting on sun facing windows – residential tint film is designed to cut UV rays substantially

Plant trees and shrubs around your house – their shade will help keep the house cooler

Paint your house a lighter color – darker colors absorb solar energy, lighter colors reflect it away

Make sure your attic is properly ventilated, your roof absorbs a lot of heat. Vents in the eaves allows hot air to escape. Consider adding a ridge vent or attic fan.

REDUCE OTHER INTERNAL HEAT GAINS

Besides the sun there are many things and activities around the home that produce heat.

Turn off pilot lights on gas furnaces and fire places – you don’t need them during the summer

Cook outside – It’s summer, enjoy the BBQ as much as possible on hot days

Install compact florescent bulbs, they produce a lot less heat than incandescent bulbs

Turn off appliances – even unplug them. Many TV’s, CD players, satellite TV receivers, stereos, cell phone chargers and other electronic devices draw power and give off heat even when turned off.

Keep your fridge and freezer full – more food in your fridge and freezer means it won’t warm up as fast when the door is open. Also all that thermal mass stays cooler longer and the fridge does not have to work as hard to keep it cool. When the cooling system is running on your fridge it is producing warm air in your home.

Take shorter showers and vent off the warm moist air – open a window while showering.

Reduce clothing dryer use – hang clothing outside if you can. Don’t use the dryer during peak daytime temperatures, instead use it early morning or in the evening. And keep that lint trap clean!

Don’t use the dryer setting on your dishwasher. Instead open the door and let them air dry.

DIVIDE YOUR HOUSE INTO ZONES

Large buildings employ zoning to more efficiently manage cooling and heating. You can do the same in your home. Most modern central air systems will employ automated zone control systems. Some home systems may employ two or three different central ac units each cooling a single floor of the house. If your system does not have these sorts of zone controls built in you can try these tips.

Have your HVAC contractor install zone dampers into your air duct system.

Close off empty and unused rooms – close doors, windows, curtains and vents. There is no need to cool this space as much as the rest of your home.

If your central AC uses separate thermostats for different floors (or zones) of your house, adjust temperatures according to usage patterns in those parts of your house.

Use small room AC units in your more lived in areas (living room, bedroom). You can let the rest of the house remain a few degrees warmer, reducing central a/c use which can offset the costs of the extra unit.

KEEP THE AIR FLOWING

Use fans – they circulate the air around and moving air help your bodies natural air conditioning (evapo-transpiration) work better.

Turn fans off when you’re not in the room. Moving air cools your skin, moving air with no skin nearby cools nothing, it just eats electricity, and the fans’ motor is producing a little bit of heat.

Re-Arrange your furniture – make sure chairs and sofa’s are not blocking air flow from your HVAC vents.

REDUCE HUMIDITY IN YOUR HOME

Ridding your house of excess humidity will help make your family feel more comfortable. You may even be able to set your air conditioner above 78 degrees when using a dehumidifier combined with fans. Your body can stand a couple extra degrees if the air is drier and moving around.

Use a dehumidifier to take water out of the air- turn it on when the temperature rises.

As mentioned above (reduce internal heat gains), minimize showers, baths and boiling water while cooking to reduce humidity inputs into your home.

INSULATE AND PLUG AIR LEAKS AROUND YOUR HOME

Trap cold air inside as much as possible. Letting it leak outdoors mean you have to cool more of it to replace those cold air losses.

Weather-strip, seal, and caulk leaky doors and windows and install foam gaskets behind outlet covers.

Seal air ducts – leaky ducts mean you push less cool air to where you need it. Have your AC contractor test and seal your duct work.

Increase attic insulation – insulate your attic to at least R-30.

Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans sparingly – you’re pumping out your cool air.

WATCH OUT FOR THE “REBOUND EFFECT”

If you follow many of the tips in this article you will certainly reduce your energy consumption and save money. Depending on where you live and the size of your home those savings could be hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year. A nice chunk of change for most anybody. Be careful though not to simply use the money you save to buy more energy consuming devices or turn your AC down a few degrees thinking you can now be cooler while spending the same as you did before. In energy and conservation economics this is known as the rebound effect.

Brought to you by Armer Air Heating and Air Conditioning 

Contact us for questions, AC inspections and maintenance.

(480) 290-2977 – armerair@gmail.com

 

Ahwatukee Home for Sale
Stunning views! Luxurious custom home in a private, gated community in the Ahwatukee Foothills.

Escape the Phoenix heat to Mount Ord!

Mount Ord

Escape 105 degrees to 80 degrees in 90 min. Mount Ord is a great destination to not only escape the heat but also to enjoy the beauty nature offers ascending from 1086ft to 7129ft above sea level. With young kids this trip is great because it’s not an entire day in the car and they will easily sleep on the way home.

Facts:

1. MAP –  All wheel drive recommended

This is a fire road that is regularly maintained. This mountain is above 7000ft and the weather/conditions can change very quickly. I have seen AWD mini vans at the summit in dry conditions. I have driven it in heavy rain/snow and the road can get very muddy and a little scary even in our Jeep.

Here’s the  moderate / experienced 4×4 route

2. Hiking is available at the summit and along the fire road. The decommissioned fire tower at the top is about a 1/2 mile hike from the locked gate.

3. Picnic areas do exist. Nothing formal but there is space to set up camping chairs and tables.

4. Camping is also available!

Our experience:

We have been visiting Mount Ord since our son was 3 years old. We usually depart our home here in the Valley around 8am and arrive at the top around 9:30am. When parked at the top, there is a spot just over the gate and to the left with an old tree that gives nice shade and a perfect place to set up a picnic. We usually go up with friends and our German Shepherd so the kids can play and we can enjoy the views at 75-80 degrees. Once noon comes it does heat up and can quickly get to mid to high 90s.

We quickly discovered this was a great spot to snow chase!

One Saturday this past winter, we noticed the weather in this area supported snow fall. We are both from New England and miss the snow at time so we felt drawn to go explore. We piled into the jeep, brought warm clothes and ascended.

It had rained a lot in the area so the ground was soft with lots of mud. It was hairy on a few occasions as the mud was deep and slick at some ridge points.

It was so cool to cross the elevation point where snow was accumulating.  As we continued, so did the accumulated amount. At the top there was 2-3” of fresh snow. Our kiddo loved it. We made a small snow man and threw snow balls but quickly ended up back in the jeep as it was a bit windy, wet and cold.

It was an amazing experience all packed into 4 hours and then, in 90 mins, we were back in the sunshine!

 

Matt Lambert is a local Realtor, super Dad and lover of the great outdoors. Find out more about Matt at EvoAZ.com.

How to Cope When In-Laws Overstep

I see it far too often in mom groups – a young mother asking how to deal with her in-laws, usually her mother-in-law. There are shocking stories about a MIL piercing ears, giving first haircuts, feeding very young infants candy, cookies, and ice cream, and just being plain rude and disrespectful of parenting choices. I’ve even heard of very unfortunate situations in which a MIL fed her grandchild food he was allergic to because she thought the parents were fabricating the allergy or being overdramatic.

I am very fortunate to have a great MIL who is not only very loving toward my children, but also respectful of my husband’s and my parenting choices. I often think about what I would do if things were different. If we set rules and boundaries that were blatantly ignored? Although I am a quiet introvert around most people, I do have an assertiveness that took years to develop. When my oldest daughter was just a baby, I knew I had to speak up for her when she couldn’t. For example, relatives always wanted hugs and kisses and to hold this cute baby girl. I often had to repeat that she was uncomfortable with other people holding her and instead of a hug and a kiss, she would give high-fives.

There’s usually a polite way to enforce boundaries. However, it is difficult when it’s a trusted adult who is being disrespectful while you’re away. You trust her to keep your children safe and follow your rules. I understand grandmothers want to spoil their grandchildren and I think special treats are great. I have no problem with my preschool daughter getting sweets and gifts from her grandparents. It crosses the line, though, when your child’s health and safety are disregarded. I would be extremely upset if a grandparent ignored my wishes to keep my daughter rear-facing in her car seat or if they pierced her ears without permission.

I think it’s important for children to spend time with all of their family, especially grandparents. But if that time is stressful for you or your children, it becomes less of a priority. And if rules are broken time and again, the privilege of spending unsupervised time with my children would definitely be taken away.

So what do you do if you are being treated rudely or your parenting choices are being criticized? This is something both you and your spouse would need to approach. When you get married, you start your own family and form a bond that is supposed to be unbreakable. Husband, wife, and children are now the inner circle and come first, and the family you grew up with are now second. There are a number of things that can make this bond falter, and one is poor communication. When my husband and I were first engaged, we took a Pre-Marriage Prep class – read more about that here. This helped us tackle future communication issues and brought up the issue of rude or critical in-laws. Nothing will get resolved it you don’t fully communicate to your spouse how you feel when his family member does or says certain things to you.

Be very specific with the situation, your feelings, and your expectations. What would you like him to do when this happens next? If your MIL is critical of what you feed your kids, your husband can chime in and say, “It’s so difficult to get kids to eat anything, but they always eat her cooking and I really like it, too.” Or if you’re left out of planning an activity, maybe your husband can announce how great you are at crafting and you could make some cute place cards. Have a plan and follow through. Be assertive, but also try to be patient with everyone involved.

About Jen Armstrong

Jen is a working mom to two beautiful girls and wife to a brilliant engineer. An Army Brat originally from California, she loves Disneyland, traveling, and lives for Autumn. You can find her most days avoiding laundry and eating chocolate while running her blog, A Strong Home.

 

Moving?  Check out this awesome Phoenix, AZ home.  Situated on an oversized corner lot with an RV gate and no HOA! 

Click for more info and pics

2018’s Top 7 ‘MOM Approved’ Neighborhoods in the Phoenix area 🏡

Our MOM’s have spoken!  What are the top 7 favorite Phoenix area neighborhoods and why?

Morrison Ranch in Gilbert won the TOP neighborhood of 2018!!  Why?  LOCATION, location, location!!  This community is just a few miles from the 60, the 10, The San Tan Mall and the Superstition Mall not to mention tons of restaurants.  Plus the greenery, parks and amazing floor plans from a variety of builders.

Eastmark in Mesa was a close 2nd.  From the neighborhood diner to the community pool, the splash pad to the visitors center, the many school choices to the many parks throughout the community, our MOMs are moving in and they are not leaving the Eastmark bubble. Why leave when everything you need is within seconds from your door?

The very popular Ironwood Crossing in Queen Creek is home to many of our MOMs!  The location is awesome, the community offers many amenities and the home prices are very attractive.

Agritopia in Gilbert is a favorite for good reason!  Aside from the super cute curb appeal and unique home styles, the orchards for fruit picking, the Coffee Shop and Joe’s Farm Grill.   This community is super close to the 202 (within minutes) and the San Tan Mall.

Dobson Ranch in Mesa has some amazing amenities and probably the best location out of all 7.  The new park is awesome, the lake is awesome, the events like the fishing derby and the outdoor movie are awesome.  It’s a great place for kids and parents too plus it’s minutes from the 60, the 101, close to Downtown Mesa and 15 minutes from Sky Harbor.

Mountain Park Ranch is a huge community right in the heart of Ahwatukee.  Located within minutes from the South Mountain Preserve, hikers and bikers will be in heaven in this location.  Parents will love the convenience of the 10 and 202, the smaller town feel and the added bonus of all those views!

Power Ranch is a such cool neighborhood in south Gilbert!  Located so close to the 202, check out the two clubhouses,fishing lake, splash pad, pools and sports courts and fields.

There were a few others that didn’t make the cut but many MOMs recommend.  Areas like south Scottsdale, Arcadia and Desert Ridge in north Phoenix.

Fully Remodeled South Scottsdale Home for Sale

 

 

7 Kid-Friendly Ways to Stay Cool in Phoenix, AZ this Summer 🌞

Yes, it’s hot but you don’t have to go into hibernation this summer!  There’s plenty to do in the Valley of the Sun even in the summer months and you don’t have to spend a lot to do it.

Indoors and FREE:

Visit the local public library.  Our MOMs especially like the toddler friendly events at the Apache Junction Public Library , the Dobson Ranch Library and Scottsdale Public Library.

The i.d.e.a Museum in Mesa is offering another free admission day on Sunday, May 20th.  Children of all ages are invited to visit the museum from 12pm to 5pm.  The Sonoran Safari exhibition is being featured this season and they have an awesome toddler friendly section.

The Childrens Museum in Phoenix is offering a free admission day the first Friday of most months from 5pm to 9pm.

Visit video game arcades especially with younger kids.  Stay cool in the AC and let your 2 to 4 year-old loose in the arcade.  They will think they are playing the games with you and will have fun with all the buttons and lights.  Dave and Busters is free to visit with the added bonus of the restaurant and bar. 😉

Also indoors:

Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center in Chandler is extremely reasonable and offers season passes for families.

Harkins has an awesome summer movie program that costs less than $1.00 per movie for 10 weeks.  Tickets are on sale now at participating locations.

Under 6 can jump for $5 at Xtreme Air.

Go ice skating!  We like the Ice Den in Scottsdale.  5 and under skates for $5 ($3 with own skates).   3 and under skates for free at AZ Ice in Gilbert.

Local Beaches:

Looking for a beach?  Yes, we are in the desert but we do have a few beaches around believe it or not!

You might see some wildlife at Butcher Jones.  If you have a 4×4 vehicle you can go back into the coves where there are more beaches that are less crowded.

Apache Lake has a campground, a marina and a jaw-dropping view.

Hit the beach but stay in the city at Waikiki Beach Wave Pool at Big Surf in Tempe.

Get your pool pass: 

There are some great public pools but did you know that you can get a day pass to the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa in Phoenix?

Day passes are also available at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia.  Enjoy the rooftop pool!

Old Fashion Ice cream parlors:

1950’s style Sugar Bowl has been serving up cool treats in Scottsdale since 1958.  They also have a gift shop and offer birthday parties in their new arcade parlor.

Mary Coyle Ol’ Fashion Ice Cream in Phoenix has been around since 1951.  Get an old fashioned sundae, ice cream soda or the popular authentic banana split!

Homemade Fun:

Get a snow cone maker!   The kids will love making their own snow cones and playing with the different colors and flavors.  You’ll love how easy it is to keep them entertained.

Have an Arizona snowball fight!  Pick your teams, dip these water balls in water and toss!

Make a ‘water piñata’!  Fill a bunch of water balloons, get some string and tie the full balloons to a tree, the covered patio or wherever you have enough room to swing a bat.  The more balloons you hang, the wetter you will be!

Move to a neighborhood with awesome amenities:

Seriously though!  HOA payments are much easier to make when you are enjoying the splash pad and community center at Eastmark, or the sandy beach and clubhouse at Val Vista Lakes or the fishing derby’s and movie in the pool at Dobson Ranch.  Click here to request a list of awesome, family friendly neighborhoods in the greater Phoenix area.

Visit our Calendar for a list of our upcoming summer events!

Photo Credit to Photos by Jessica Nelson

Top 5 Reasons Moms are loving Eastmark in Mesa

What’s all the buzz about Eastmark lately?  Oh nothing…it’s just one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the country consistently recognized as the #1 seller in Arizona.

That’s all great but why are Moms loving it?

1. The variety of homes offered at many different price points suits the needs of a wide range of families.  If you aren’t the new build type and need to move a little more quickly, there are several gorgeous gently used resale homes available. Check with The New Build Ninja for the list of specs available and get the best of both worlds, the brand spanking new home and the quick move-in!

2. The community feel is strong between neighbors.  There are many active Facebook social groups like Eastmark Moms, Eastmark Neighbors  and Eastmark Babysitters Group .  The beer club, gardening club and healthy life group brings those with similar passions even closer together.  The Eastmark Experience info page will keep you up to speed on the First Friday concerts, holiday events and all the other neighborhood happenings.

3. The amenities make life much more enjoyable and ridiculously convenient.  No mom wants to pack everything and everyone up just to drive several miles to the public pool or the park for fear of having to quickly pack up again and come home because someone had a meltdown or an accident.  Some of our favorite amenities are the 12 neighborhood parks, the splash pad, the Handlebar Diner, the Great Park, the Visitors Center with game room and the neighborhood pool.  The upcoming farm, lighted ball park and dog park are sure to be winners once they are complete.

4. The schools are very attractive and very close.  Queen Creek high school is coming to Eastmark in 2019.  Eastmark offers two of the country’s top-ranked charter schools. BASIS Mesa at Eastmark will be serving grades K-12 starting in 2019.  Sequoia Pathfinder Academy at Eastmark is a STEAM-based elementary school that serves grades K-6.  The Learning Experience, serving the early education needs of children 6 weeks to 6 years, plans to open an Eastmark campus.  The public elementary school, Gateway Polytechnic, serves K-5.  There’s also a new Legacy Traditional School being built nearby that will be opening this year.

5. The commute is super reasonable.  These days anything affordable with the new home smell also comes with a 45 to 60 minute commute to the city depending on traffic. Eastmark is super close to the 202, the 24 and the 60.  It’s 30 mins to Phoenix Sky Harbor and 10 mins to Gateway Airport.  San Tan Village and all the shops and restaurants is 12 minutes away and Downtown Gilbert is only 18 mins away.

Got Eastmark questions?  Ask the New Build Ninja!

Jen Duncan (480) 707-7554

Need a little life balance? Bye bye DIY!

Your life is probably just as busy as mine.  There’s work…and maybe you run a business or two.  Kids, pets and significant others appointments, school and other activities.  Then there’s laundry, keeping the house tidy and well stocked, groceries, bill paying, vehicle maintentance and meal prep.  Someone’s got to make sure the bills are paid, the insurance is current and prescriptions are filled.  The landscaping, home maintenance and pest control needs to be kept up.  Every year the taxes have to be filed and maybe, just maybe this is the year you are buying or selling your home.

Phew… I’m tired just thinking about it.  Are you?

Are you feeling defeated?  Like there isn’t any balance?  Either your house is clean or you get to spend time with your kids?  Either you eat healthy meals or the laundry and landscaping get done.  Doesn’t it get a little stressful around tax time when turbo tax isn’t working right or you aren’t sure about the deductions?  Then there’s the house… did you disclose appropriately to keep your butt out of court in the future?  Did you price the house right?  Stage it appropriately?  Do you know where to market and how to market?  Is that stranger really interested in your house or are they casing the joint and seeing what you have for a security system so they can rob you blind later?

Now I’m not only tired, I’m super stressed.

Back in the day, it was cool to DIY.   Your parents probably changed their own oil, did the landscaping and taxes, etc.  Most likely they were always sick, tired and really grouchy.  Do you find yourself following in their footsteps thinking this is just “life”.

Well, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Everyone has the same 24 hours and you aren’t going to get it all done.  It’s just impossible.  The key to balance is leverage and the key to leverage is mindset.  Change your mindset, change your life.  You don’t have to follow in your parents footsteps.

Automate everything that you possibly can.  Set up automatic bill payment online, get on auto ship programs for the products you love (I LOVE Melaleuca auto ship), add recurring events to your calendar and set it to remind you for things like vehicle registrations, call the AC guy for the yearly tune-up, oil change reminders,  etc.

Pay experienced professionals what they are worth to handle some of the things you just aren’t experienced in, good at or the things that just don’t please you to have to do.

Hire a landscaper, a house cleaner, a professional tax preparer, a mechanic, a pest control person, a handyman and a professional real estate Broker.  Hire a professional that preps meals or at least gets your groceries delivered to your door.  Hire a kid from the neighborhood to walk the dog.  Pay these people what they are worth.  You get what you pay for here…do not forget that old saying.  I cringe when I see people make the mistake of hiring the least expensive person.  THEY ALWAYS wish they had hired a true professional in the end.   It ALWAYS costs you more when you go cheap.

Trust me, you do have the money.  Budget for this.  You’ll be more happy.  You’ll have more time. You’ll be more productive at work or in your business.  Life all around will be more enjoyable.  You’ll spend more time with your family.  At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoyment.  Stop doing the things you hate to do and are not good at and kills your time.  Leave it to the pros that do it every day.  You’ll thank me and yourself later.

Here are a few of my favorites:

House Cleaner

Mechanic 

Mobile Pet Groomer 

Grocery Delivery

Landscaper 

Tax Prep

Pest Control

Pool Guy

Real Estate Pro

Good luck achieving the balance!  It is achievable.

 

This awesome Mesa Historic Home is for sale!  DETAILS HERE 

Arizona Holiday Family Resources

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. The holiday season can be a difficult and stressful time for many, especially those families who are struggling financially.

MOMNation is built on the premise of helping other Moms through fostering a true digital and real-life community. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of websites and physical locations throughout Arizona where you and your family can find the assistance you need – and a little holiday cheer.

211arizona.org

From essentials like food, clothing and housing to disability and veteran services, 211Arizona is an excellent resource for all human services. If you are looking for help regarding domestic violence, mental health support, employment services, or programs for veterans or those with disabilities, this site can point you in the right direction.

Needhelppayingbills.com

As the name suggests, this site is a one-stop shop for all things financial. Here you can find information on charity organizations and assistance programs that provide struggling families help with paying bills and taxes, mortgages, and debts.

Homelessshelterdirectory.org

Not only does this site include a nationwide directory that provides an extensive list of homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food banks by state, it also has an excellent directory of other resources.

2hands.org

With 2Hands, you can post about a specific need directly on the website, and if someone in their growing group of nationwide members can help you, you are connected through the website. By connecting individuals in need with those who have the means to help, this assistance platform allows people to help others on a very personal level. No Grinches here!

Turnanewleaf.org

A New Leaf provides a broad spectrum of services for individuals and families alike. Not only can they help to support your family’s basic immediate needs, they can counsel you on critical lifelong skills like budgeting, career programs and housing assistance.

Foodpantries.org

If you’re struggling to put food on the table, visit foodpantries.org. With nearly 300 food pantries in Arizona alone, this site is an excellent resource to locate local food banks and soup kitchens, as well as subsidized groceries. While food pantries can help you any time of year, the holiday season sees an increase in donations. Their directory can help you find free or subsidized food in your area.

Salvationarmyphoenix.org/locations

One of the most well known organizations, the Salvation Army really ramps up their services during the holidays. With locations all over the Valley, you can look to the Salvation Army to provide youth and senior programs, homeless assistance, and worship services. During December, kids under 12 are eligible for the Christmas Angel program, so no child should go without the joy of a new toy on Christmas.

Phoenix Children’s Project Christmas Assistance

We all want our children to experience the joy and wonder of Christmas. This program helps children living below the poverty level in Phoenix get toys, home-baked treats, shoes, clothes and other essentials.

For more information, you can call 602-955-2228

East Valley Arizona Food Banks

We’ve compiled this list of food banks throughout Arizona for those in need to utilize year-round.

Arizona Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) provides food to people experiencing homelessness, low-income senior citizens, families and individuals, year-round  There is no fee to receive emergency food assistance. For more information, visit them online or call: 855-432-7587

There’s no need to be ashamed if you need to reach out for help – at any time. The end of the year and the holidays that come with it can be overwhelming. But if you are in need of a miracle this holiday season, there’s a sleigh full of resources we hope you can take advantage of! And as always, reach out directly to MOMNation to receive support and guidance from your local community of MOMs.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!!

Best Coffee Shops in Arizona

If you’re a MOM you’re most likely also coffee obsessed! Our MOMs are too.  Sure, Starbucks is great (drive-through, hello!) but where can a MOM get away in Arizona to enjoy great coffee, and maybe even a… kid’s play area?  Here are our absolute MOM and pop fave coffee shops around Arizona.

Best Coffee Shops in Arizona

 

Chandler

Peixoto: This shop operates on a supply of Brazilian beans direct from a family-run South American coffee farm.  We love supporting that!

Sozo: Sozo is a huge coffee shop in Chandler that has a stage with open mic nights and live music!  It’s also kid-friendly with a separate toy room for the littles.

Gilbert

Bergies: Aside from the cool downtown Gilbert location, we adore the little rustic cottage and the cute outdoor patio.

Sweetz Cold Brew: Cold brews and vegan-friendly foods here! We also love the layout and high-top bar with plugs for your laptop/phone.

The Coffee Shop: Located in Agritopia in an old, rustic barn… need we say more?

Glendale

Cabin Coffee Cafe: We love the vibe here!! Friendly staff, cozy vibes, great coffee + a kids table.

Rayner’s Chocolate and Coffee Shop: It’s chocolate AND coffee 🙂

Mesa

Jarrod’s Coffee & Tea Gallery: Coffee plus art equals a one of a kind experience in historic downtown Mesa.  

Volstead Public House: Vegan and adult beverage options at this old historic coffee shop located along the light rail.  We LOVE the exposed brick wall and the old wood floors.

Phoenix

The Velo (Roosevelt Row): It’s cyclist-friendly coffee shop! They even boost Sunday social rides and live music on First Fridays. Swoon! 

Where U Bean Coffee (Ahwatukee): Awesome decor and they make an amazing banana pudding!

The Teapot: One of the most family-friendly coffee shops that we’ve ever come across. Inside, there’s a children’s corner with toys and outside, large play structure, bikes, toys, umbrellas for shade. Teapot also has picnic tables and a big community table, making it even more MOM-friendly. We love it!

Scottsdale

Maverick Coffee: Located just south of Shea, Maverick coffee has everything you need to get away and maybe even get some work done: big couches, incredible coffee, yummy pastries, and an ambiance that cannot be beat.

Sip Coffee and Beer House: Get your espresso or coffee infused with a little liquor. Sometimes, when you’re a MOM, there are days for this. 🙂

Tempe

Cartel Coffee Lab: Dedicated to quality and integrity of coffee, this stuff is so good. The beans for every cup of coffee are ground and drip brewed as you order. It’s worth it, but maybe not so kid-friendly.

Gold Bar Espresso:  Great coffee and great pastries.  Sometimes there’s even live jazz!

Got a MOM and pop coffee shop that you love that wasn’t mentioned?  We’d love to know about it.  Please leave your recommendation in the comments!

Energy Bill Savings Tips for Arizona MOMs

As MOMs in AZ, there’s lots we have to think about and energy efficiency certainly is at the top of the list.  It’s not only important for a comfortable home environment for the fam, but it’s also beneficial to the household budget.

There are several ways to keep the house comfier and the wallet happy during the summer months.  Here are our great suggestions from our MOMs:

  1. Get sunscreens, especially on the windows in direct sunlight.  Sunscreens come in many different sizes ranging from 60-90% sun coverage. They not only help block the heat but also provide some privacy.  Sunscreens can make a really big difference in the overall comfort of your home, and also offer major relief on your energy bill.  
  2. Sunshades are a must and we LOVE the automatic version.  There are many options and colors of shades that are programmable.  Once the sun hits a certain level, the shades come down.  It’s great!  Manual versions are also available and are a bit more cost effective while still offering the savings on the monthly energy bill.  Check out one of our favorite, and very popular, manual sunshades here.
  3. Nest Thermometer! This programmable thermostat learns your habits and saves approximately 15% on your cooling bill. The coolest part is that it can be controlled by your smart phone.
  4. Check out energy rebates and usage programs from SRP, APS and SW gas.
  5. Check your insulation levels.  Having the correct amount of insulation is super important, and at least 90% of AZ households do not have sufficient insulation.  Speak to a professional to determine the appropriate amount of insulation and appropriate R-value. Here’s some more info.
  6. Energy efficient windows are a great investment and will definitely help reduce the energy bill.  When selecting new windows, consider their energy performance ratings with respect to climate and home design.  You can expect at least a 20% savings on your energy bill if not more.
  7. Make sure your “extra” fridge in the garage is up for the challenge.  Higher temperatures can stress it by forcing the motor to run constantly, especially if your garage exceeds 110 degrees.  The energy bill will spike and you run the risk of the machine failing and risking food spoilage.
  8. Service your AC unit ASAP if it has not been regularly maintained.  You’d be surprised how much more efficient a regularly maintained AC unit is and you might even find that it makes sense to upgrade and replace the unit with a higher SEER rating for maximum efficiency.  Be sure to change your AC filters regularly; it may seem small but this helps keep the unit running efficiently.
  9. Speaking of AC units, don’t forget about your ductwork.  This is nearly as important as the unit itself.  Look for sections that should be joined but have separated, and for obvious holes. Don’t want to do the work yourself? Consult a pro.  Ignoring this could mean a 25% to 30% energy loss.
  10. Seal energy leaks around doors, windows, etc.  If you can see the light of day, you are losing energy.  Caulk and/or apply weatherstrip to doors and windows. Caulk to seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets. You can even install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
  11. Moving air is cooler that turning on your air conditioning because it creates quick evaporation of moisture from the skin.  Ceiling fans are found in almost all homes in the Phoenix, AZ area and help create a more comfortable environment by moving air.  Don’t think there’s a fan for you? Ceiling fans come in many styles and colors to fit any design scheme!
  12. Go solar! Solar power popularity is on the rise and you can now either purchase or lease the systems.  There are still several options and incentives available for installing solar panels on top of the already big savings on energy bills.
  13. Upgrade to energy star appliances, and don’t forget the water heater.  These appliances save a ton on energy but they don’t slack on performance.  Upgrade your dishwasher, freezer, refrigerator, washer, dryer and water heater.
  14. Keep the fireplace damper completely closed while not in use!  Consider adding glass doors and keep them closed to increase energy efficiency.  
  15. Planting the appropriate trees in strategic places around your home conserves energy and reduces your energy bills.  Be sure to consult a professional as planting an inappropriate type of tree or placing it in the wrong area can be damaging to some major systems of your home including the roof, foundation and plumbing.
  16. Purchase black out shades or blinds and place on all windows affected by the sun.
  17. Consider purchasing a home with North / South exposure.  This is the most optimal orientation in the Phoenix AZ area.  Search Phoenix area homes for sale here.  

Contact me to discuss your energy efficiency level.  I have great referrals for professionals to help with any of these suggestions and love to get to know MOMs!

 

This house just SOLD! Want to see properties just like it? Click the image or visit: http://bit.ly/2tJVI7v

Katie Halle Lambert
Associate Broker
Team Evolution at 
Revelation Real Estate
480-250-0023
www.EvoAZ.com