How much are utilities in an apartment?

How much are utilities in an apartment?

Your Guide to Estimating How Much it will Cost for Apartment Utility Bills

You’ve been on the hunt for an apartment. Perhaps you’ve even found the perfect apartment and are considering putting in an application.

But one question has given you pause for concern…How much are utilities in an apartment?

You’d be right to use caution here. Every landlord and property management company operates on their own terms. Because of this inconsistency in operations, you’ll need to figure out what utilities (if any) are covered as part of your apartments monthly rent, and which you are responsible for.

You’ll also need to ‘guesstimate’ how much you could expect to pay for these utilities so that you can appropriately budget ahead of time.

In some cases, the added expenses of utilities cost may make an otherwise affordable rent for an apartment out of reach. Knowing this ahead of time can save you time, energy, and frustration.

But don’t fret. In this guide, we’ll help you figure out what apartment utility bills you might expect to pay for in addition to rent, how to find out which ones are your responsibility, and how to estimate your energy costs so you won’t get hit with a surprise energy bill that your wallet can’t cash.

Quick Facts About Apartment Utility Bills

  • According to Energy.gov, the average apartment renter can expect to pay between $150-$200 per month in heating and cooling costs, plus electricity.
  • In a majority of cases, landlords include the water and refuse bill as part of tour rent
  • Most apartment tenants will be responsible for paying for their own ‘optional’ utilities, such as cable, TV, and internet.

What Utility Types Are Common in Apartments?

Are you wondering how the utility types that you’re encountering in your apartment search are stacking up to the other apartments out there? We’ve compiled the information on what fuel sources are most common for each end use function. For heat, 46% of U.S. apartments use electricity, 40% use natural gas, 4% use fuel oil, and 10% use another type of fuel source. For hot water, electricity also takes the largest share. Water heaters are fueled by electricity in 49% of U.S. apartments, 47% use natural gas, 2% use fuel oil, and 3% use another fuel source. For cooking, 64% of apartments use an electric oven/stove, 31% use natural gas, and 5% use another fuel source. Air conditioners in apartments, whether wall units or central air, are mostly fueled by electricity. Only 16% of apartments use a fuel source other than electricity or do not report having air conditioning. Outdoor grills that use propane are only found in 9% of apartments. The other 91% do not report outdoor grills or use another fuel source.

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Trash and Recycling An Often Unexpected Expense

Average Trash Bill: $12 – $20/month

It’s rare for anyone to put too much thought into garbage collection beyond taking it out once a week.

But yes, it does cost money to get other people to haul away your waste.

The average monthly cost of waste collection is between $16 and $28.

So, fairly inexpensive compared to most other utilities.

While most cities have companies that bill residents directly for trash collection, others factor waste disposal into local taxes.

Other areas have also begun implementing Pay-as-You-Throw systems which charge customers based on how many bags they throw away to incentivize recycling.

According to EPA Collection Cost data, an average household pays about $1.13 for weekly recyclable collection, adding up to a cost of $58.67 each year to recycle.

Non-energy-related utilities and their costs

Of course, there’s more to utility costs than just energy. How much are utilities in non-energy areas?

  • Trash/recycling: Curbside trash and recycling services are often included in city or town fees. But those paying independently should budget $10-$40/month.
  • Water: In 2016, American households spent, on average, $15-$77 a month for water, according to the research group Circle of Blue, which focuses on environmental issues.
  • Landline: Many people rely on mobile phones, but for those wanting a landline or needing it for internet service, expect to pay $15-$45 a month; the higher cost includes long-distance services. If you prefer to use the internet for making phone calls, voiceover IP service bundles are another option and cost around $20 a month, depending on the number of minutes you purchase in your VoIP plan.
  • Internet/cable/phone: A triple package of internet, cable, and phone services average $165 per month; without the phone, the average is $132 a month. Online media-streaming services are an alternative to paying for cable, and they cost an average of $10 per month compared to $60 for a basic cable package.

How Much is the Average Gas Bill?

Finding an average for your gas bill in your apartment can be tricky. In some areas of the country, gas is cheaper than electric (such as in some east coast states). In other areas, such as the Midwest, electric can be far cheaper than gas energy.

Always ask which of the apartments appliances run on gas vs electric and what type of gas is used so you can look up local costs in the area to evaluate how much you might be spending monthly.

Water

Average cost: $28 (single) – $116 (family)

In the US, water usage and cost are measured per 1,000 gallons. On average, 1,000 gallons cost around $11.48. It is estimated that a single American household uses around 328 gallons of water per day, which amounts to around $3.76 daily.

If you have a water bill that is regularly higher than the average, it usually means that you are not using the water in your home efficiently.

Money-Saving Ideas

  • Use a dishwasher because it uses less water than washing dishes by hand. Seriously. A dishwasher only uses three gallons of water per use, but washing dishes by hand can use up to 27 gallons of water per use!
  • Fill up your dishwasher to the maximum recommended load before running a cycle.
  • Take showers instead of baths. A shower only consumes around 25 gallons of water on average, but a bath can easily double that amount.
  • Check your pipes and faucets regularly for leaks.

Utility costs landlords may cover

When shopping around for an apartment, be sure to

When shopping around for an apartment, be sure to ask the apartment manager for details about utility costs before you sign the lease. Find out what the landlord is responsible for and what you’re responsible for. Be sure to get this written down in the lease if you decide to rent the apartment.

In the apartment listing, you may see a short blurb about what landlords cover.

Some utility costs covered by your landlord may include:

  • Water: Landlords usually cover the cost of water each month. The national average cost of water per unit is around $40 per month.
  • Garbage: The average cost of residential trash collection is between $12 to $20 per month, according to the National Solid Wastes Management Association
  • Electric stove: In older units, landlords may cover the cost of an electric stove

Landlords usually won’t cover the cost of electricity, so be prepared to pay for this.

Tips

Ask Current Tenants

If you are unsure about utility costs, you can ask current residents how much they spend on utilities before moving in. Just be sure to phrase the question politely since it can be a bit of a personal question.

Always Check the Energy Efficiency Ratio

Before buying any appliance, check the energy efficiency ratio (EER). This ratio tells you how well the appliance uses electricity to function. A higher EER means that an appliance has been rated as energy efficient.

Use Natural Heating and Cooling

Whenever possible, use your apartment’s natural heating and cooling. Open the windows during the summer to let in cool air so that you don’t need to spend as much on cooling. During the winter, use furniture to block windows to prevent drafts. It all depends on how creative you can get!

Estimates of Individual Costs of Utilities

Heating

You will not get a separate utility bill for heating, but you will have to somehow pay for it. It will either be covered by your landlord and tacked on to the rent, or it will be included in your electric or gas bill. 

Heating bills vary depending on the climate of the city you live in, and northern cities will have to pay more for heating than southern cities. You should also consider air conditioning. The cost of running an AC will be included in your electric bill, so it isn’t a separate bill you need to worry about. But if you live in a hot climate and need to keep your apartment cool in the summertime, be prepared for your electric bill to go up.

What is the average cost of heating an apartment?

The average cost to heat an apartment is approximately typically around $80-100 per month during the winter months if you have gas heat or forced air. However, if you have oil heating, the cost to heat your apartment will be quite a bit more, likely between $200-$250 per month. 

What is the average cost of cooling an apartment?

It typically costs around $100-125 per month to cool an apartment during the summertime. If you live in an area with a scorching climate or have a huge apartment, the price can increase. 

Electricity

Electricity is an important bill, and it can get out of hand if you’re not careful. It’s easy to be careless and leave the lights on all night or let the AC run while you’re asleep. But unnecessary use of electricity will jack up your bill and eat into your budget for other expenses. The best thing to do is be cognizant of your electric usage and to turn off electronics and other energy gobblers when they are not needed. Electricity bills will vary depending on your needs and the number of roommates you have, but it’s typically between $100 and $150 per month.

What is the average electricity bill for an apartment?

The average electric bill for an apartment in the US is approximately $125 per month. 

Gas

Gas is another important bill you should take into consideration. You may not think about using gas much in your apartment, but many of your appliances may run on gas. To get an accurate estimate of your gas bill, you’ll need to find out where it’s being used. Do you have a gas oven and stove, or are they electric? Is your apartment heated by gas or electricity? These are essential things to know to correctly calculate your gas bill. Your energy provider will often cover both gas and electricity, and you’ll be sent one bill that breaks down the costs of each utility. Pay close attention to this breakdown if you’re looking for ways to reduce monthly costs.

What is the average gas bill for an apartment?

The average monthly gas bill is approximately $100 for apartments that have gas heating. 

Water

Water is another essential utility that can’t be overlooked. If you’re someone who enjoys long luxurious showers or you have a lot of plants, you may end up paying more. But in general, water bills are manageable are often covered by the landlord.

What is the Average Water Bill for an Apartment?

The average monthly water bill for an apartment in the US is $40. 

Internet

Although the internet was once thought of as a luxury, today it’s become necessary for most renters. Internet plans vary depending on how much speed and bandwidth you’re looking for. If you’re a single person who just needs to be able to watch Netflix and surf the web, you can get by for $50 to $75 per month. Whereas if you’re a gamer or tech aficionado and you need a lot of bandwidth to run programs, you may be looking at a bill closer to $150.

What is the Average Internet Bill for an Apartment?

The average internet bill for an apartment is approximately $62 in the US. 

Cable or Streaming

Entertainment is another luxury that has become something of a necessity. You can forgo this bill if you would rather save the money and read a book. But most renters want access to some form of entertainment options, even if that’s just a Netflix subscription. Cable is great if you’re someone who still likes having a whole slate of channels at your disposal. But if you’re looking to save money, mixing and matching different streaming services is another way to go.  

What are the Costs of Popular Streaming Services?

  • Netflix: $8.99 – $15.99 / month
  • HBO Max: $15 / month
  • YouTube TV: $64.99 – $109.30 / month
  • Disney Plus: $6.99 / month

Cable The Expense You Can Play Around With

Average Cable Bill: $0 – $100 (depending on plan)

Here’s where things get interesting.

Yes, we recognize having cable TV access isn’t a necessity, but it’s definitely a quality-of-life choice that most people find to be well worth the cost.

But don’t worry about not having access to entertainment and information, because there are a plethora of great options for audio/visual content available at many price points.

Digital Antenna:

Digital Antenna:

By far the cheapest option, as long as you’re within range of a local broadcaster, digital antennas allow you to watch a handful of television stations (typically including ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS) for free.

Average Price: $0

Cable Subscription:

Here you’ll see fewer options, depending on where you live, but all companies are required to offer basic cable packages along with additional channels and bundles with internet and phone service.

Average Price: $100/month

Streaming Television:

Recently, many companies have sprung up offering streaming television through the internet, offering customers an alternative to paying whatever their local cable company feels like charging.

Average Price: $25 – $40/month

Dedicated Streaming Services:

And if you’re more into watching things strictly for entertainment, there are plenty of streaming video services that offer a variety of content that appeal to almost every niche from film buffs, to classic television, comedies, and horror.

Average Price: $8 – $15/month (per service)

Total bill

If you skip the cable, your total utilities cost comes to roughly $200 a month. Keep in mind, though, that this is for the rental as a whole — if you have roommates, divide by the number of people living in the unit. Of course, if you have a very large apartment (say for four people or more) or you are renting a house, the heat, electricity and A/C will be higher, so add 20-30 percent to the estimate, and then divide.

As a rough rule of thumb, expect to spend on utilities an amount equal to about 20 percent of your monthly rent if you live alone, or about 10 percent of your monthly rent if you live with roommates.

What Is the Average Internet Bill?

Nowadays, an internet connection is a must-have fo

Nowadays, an internet connection is a must-have for most households. And, with the rise in popularity of remote work, it’s more essential than ever. However, average internet prices can vary from as little as $20 in Washington, D.C. to as much as $70 in Alaska. Of course, depending on the provider and plan you choose, rates may be even higher.

Similarly, if you want cable TV, you can contract it separately or bundle it with your internet or other services. However, streaming services may be a less expensive way to go. Or, if you have a high-speed internet connection, you could even skip cable television and just stick to the online options, instead.

How Much are Utilities in an Apartment with Four or More Bedrooms?

With four or more bedrooms you’re looking at closer to $200- $300 per month for basic utilities, depending on the number of roommates. Cable won’t change much unless you all have different tastes. But you’ll likely want to invest in Wi-Fi with a higher bandwidth if you’re going to have several people and devices all using the same connection. That will run you an extra $50 to $100 per month. But if you’re smart and make sure everyone is frugal with the utilities you can easily get away with paying less than $150 per person if all of the rooms are occupied.

Cooking gas

In some buildings, if you have a gas range, you’ll have to pay for the natural gas that you use during cooking. (And in some buildings, the natural gas will also provide your heat.) With cooking, the cost is minimal — $15 a month at most, usually quite a lot less. It really all depends how much you cook at home.

Tips for Saving Money on Your Electricity Bill

If you’re looking to save money on your electricit

If you’re looking to save money on your electricity bill, it’s important to reduce your consumption. Specifically, one of the highest energy consumers in your home is the air conditioner, so it’s essential to learn how to optimize its performance. First, change the HVAC filters regularly and adjust the temperature. If you live in cooler places, you might not even need to use the air at all. Otherwise, if you live in the South or other warm areas, make it a habit to leave the thermostat at a higher temperature than what you would typically set it at during the winter months. Just a few degrees will make a big difference at the end of the month.

Another way to reduce your consumption is to swap out regular light bulbs with LEDs. Although they’re pricier upfront, LED bulbs last longer and consume less electricity. Similarly, consider incorporating smart power strips for appliances that enter standby when not in use, yet still consume electricity. These devices account for a significant portion of your energy consumption, which you can easily reduce. Alternatively, you could also unplug them when not in use.

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