With each new apartment, it’s not uncommon for tenants to experience a period of trepidation as they wait to see how much their utility bills will add up to. Utility costs can vary from season to season, based on what part of the country you’re in.
Rent is a fixed and transparent monthly expense but apartment utilities like electricity, water, natural gas, cable, and internet aren’t so straightforward. If these costs are included in your rent, then you aren’t left wondering from month to month how much you’ll need to cover them. Generally, renters are responsible for paying their utilities separately from the rent.
Utility costs can add up, so it’s important to know how much you should expect to pay so you can budget accordingly. Performing a bit of research ahead of time can help you get a sense of how much you should pay, depending on which state you live in.
For example, if you live in the northern United States, your utility bills in summer will be relatively low because you probably won’t use a lot of air conditioning but come winter, you’ll pay more for hearing.
Take a look at the interactive map below to see what the average apartment renter’s utility bills cost and how much you’re likely to pay each month according to the state in which you live.
For most renters, electricity is usually one of the costliest monthly utility bills. According to electricity marketplace ElectricChoice.com, Americans typically use 41 percent of their energy on heating and cooling interior spaces, and 35 percent on appliances, electronics, and lighting. You’ll be paying more or less on your apartment electricity bill depending on the number of people in your household, the state in which you live, the number of appliances and electronics running on electricity, and the size of your apartment.
To save on electricity, consider using air-conditioning—probably the biggest contributor to your bill—at a minimum; you might not need it at all if you live in a cooler northern state like Minnesota or North Dakota.
The number of rooms in your apartment also impacts the amount you pay for utilities. The average monthly electric bill for a 1-bedroom apartment is roughly $90 when only one person resides in the unit, but electricity for a 3-bedroom apartment with several roommates can cost $135 or more monthly. Leaving a computer on for 10 hours every day or cranking the AC to super-cool temperatures can add $eave their computers on for 10 hours a day every day or love blasting the AC at max, your total electric bill could be $25 more.
Renters with roommates can check out these apps to help divvy up the bills each month and save money.
The lowest natural gas bills happen on the West Coast, due to a combination of low monthly consumption and moderate prices. The average gas bill in Oregon, Washington, California, and Utah, is less than $35 per month.
Most people use gas for home heating and cooking but the monthly bill may diverge from the average since providers or the local administrators may affix additional fixed charges or taxes to customer bills.
If you live in a 1-bedroom apartment and have high-efficiency gas appliances, your monthly gas bill will come in around $80 during the winter months. Keep in mind that weather also has a significant influence on the cost of gas, and low temperatures during the cold months of winter will raise heating bills substantially. The average gas bill for a 3-bedroom apartment with high-efficiency furnace and water heating systems is slightly more than $100 per month but a 3-bedroom apartment with low- to average-efficiency appliances can cost more than $120 per month.
An internet connection is as crucial as electricity and gas in most households today. According to BroadbandNow there are currently 2,678 internet providers in the US. Internet prices start as low as $20 in states like Arizona, Oklahoma, and Nevada, and can be more than $100 monthly depending on the service plan one subscribes to.
Cable television can be contracted and paid for separately or bundled with internet services. A bundled cable and internet package starts as low as $35 in some areas and can go well over $120, again, depending on the plan package purchased. Streaming services like NetFlix and Hulu are extremely cost-efficient alternatives to cable television.
In many instances, certain utilities including water, sewer, and trash collection are included in the rent payment, which means the property owner/landlord is picking up the tab. Other services correlating to water and wastewater provision may be part of a local bill, such as a clean water program, drinking water program, stormwater policies, and others.
On average, Americans use approximately 85 gallons of water each on a daily basis. Water usage is split between bathing and showers, toilet use, washing machines, and water used for dishwashing, hygiene, drinking, and outdoor use
Before signing a lease on a new apartment, ask your landlord whether the water bill is included in rent. If water bills are yours to pay, you’re looking at an average payment of around $35 monthly. If you’re also paying for sewer, your monthly water bill will be roughly $46. If you’re also footing the bill for garbage collection and another $12-$20 on to that.
To see how utility costs add up, consider a hypothetical. Four adult roommates who keep the AC cranked in summer and run high-efficiency heating appliances in winter. They rarely cook, enjoy extremely long showers, have broadband but do not subscribe to cable TV. Their total monthly utility bills average between $400 and $450.
In addition to looking at the average cost of utilities, check with your landlord or the previous tenants to see if you can get a clearer idea of how much utilities cost for the apartment you’re planning to move into.
Check out this handy energy calculator to determine your usage and compare electric rates.