How Much Do Utilities Cost For An Average Apartment?

What are average utility costs?

A study from the U.S. Energy Administration report

A study from the U.S. Energy Administration reported that the average monthly energy bill was about $112. Depending on where you live (hot or cold climates) and how much energy you consume, this could be your biggest expense.

Renters may pay about 20 percent of rent on utilities. If you have roommates, this cost may go down to about 10 percent. (It pays to live with others!)

To give you an idea, here are some average numbers for how much apartment utilities cost each month:

  • Electricity: $70 (excluding air/heat/stove)
  • Air conditioning: $65 (averaged over the year)
  • Heat: $65 (averaged over the year)
  • Internet and cable: $100 (depends on the services you choose)
  • Water: $50
  • Trash and recycling: $20
  • Renters insurance: $13 (about $150 billed annually)
  • Parking: Highly dependent on area, could be $150 in urban areas
  • Cooking gas: $10
  • Total costs: ~$400 (more if high-priced parking is necessary)

When it comes to cooking, you might pay anywhere from $15 to $100 per month on your gas bill depending on how often you use your gas cooking range or oil heater. If your apartment uses an electric stove or heater, your gas bill will be significantly less, if not already bundled with the cost of your rent.

You might not be directly responsible for everything above, and they’re just estimates, which can be higher or lower than your actual utility costs.

Electricity

Average cost: $30-50

Electricity usually accounts for the largest portion of your utility bill. The average cost mentioned above discounts any air conditioning or heating. If you include heating and cooling in your electricity bills, it can increase by up to 32%.

There are a number of factors that can affect your electricity bill, such as the number of people living in the apartment and the amount of appliances and gadgets you use on a regular basis. The size of the apartment also matters as well; a larger apartment will consume more electricity to cool and heat.

Money-Saving Ideas

  • Beware of “energy vampires” a.k.a. Appliances and gadgets that consume electricity even when turned off as long as they are plugged in. Things such as gaming consoles, coffee makers, and phone chargers still consume electricity when not in use. They can account for as much as 20% of your total energy consumption.
  • Check with your provider. If you have multiple providers in your area, shop around to see if you can get services for cheaper. Switching is quick and easy, and you can save up to 40% on your bill.
  • Keep an eye on your monthly usage. If you notice that your electricity bills are higher than normal, check with your provider to see where the increased consumption is coming from. It might be something you can cut down on.
  • Invest in energy-efficient LED light bulbs, or better yet, use solar-powered bulbs when possible. Switch to solar-powered outdoor lighting if you live in a sunny area.

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Tips for Saving Money on Your Gas Bill

To save money on your gas bill, first check the seals on windows and doors to determine if you’re losing heat anywhere. Mostly used during the winter to warm the home, gas consumption can also be reduced by adjusting the temperature — and a smart thermostat can help with this. Likewise, get used to lowering the temperature during the winter, even if only by a few degrees. The difference will certainly show up on your bill.

Average Monthly Electric Bill By State

How average are you when it comes to the amount you pay for electricity each month? A good way to determine this is to study how your average electricity bill compares to other consumers in your state.

Here’s a look at the average 2019 monthly electric bill in every state courtesy of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Alabama: $150.45

Alaska: $127.29

Arizona: $126.09

Arkansas: $109.46

California: $101.92

Colorado: $83.07

Connecticut: $150.71

Delaware: $119.16

Florida: $129.65

Georgia: $131.84

Hawaii: $168.21

Idaho: $93.83

Illinois: $92.37

Indiana: $120.74

Iowa: $108.04

Kansas: $113.26

Kentucky: $120.08

Louisiana: $120.70

Maine: $100.53

Maryland: $127.92

Massachusetts: $125.89

Michigan: $100.23

Minnesota: $99.02

Mississippi: $135.87

Missouri: $117.82

Montana: $95.43

Nebraska: $108.08

Nevada: $106.83

New Hampshire: $120.04

New Jersey: $105.07

New Mexico: $80.04

New York: $103.60

North Carolina: $123.25

North Dakota: $114.27

Ohio: $108.15

Oregon: $100.35

Oklahoma: $113.93

Pennsylvania: $115.47

Rhode Island: $121.62

South Carolina: $144.73

South Dakota: $120.60

Tennessee: $132.33

Texas: $134.07

Utah: $75.63

Vermont: $97.18

Virginia: $135.46

Washington: $94.49

West Virginia: $121.90

Wisconsin: $95.52

Wyoming: $96.53

What Utilities are Included in my Lease?

When on the hunt for apartments, one of the things on your list of questions, should be to ask the property manager for details about the utilities prior to signing on the bottom line.

The last thing you want to do is accidentally get in over your head financially and then have to break the lease, likely incurring even more penalties.

Utility Costs Landlords (might) Cover

Before we can estimate the average cost of your apartments utility bills, we need to first establish which energy bills you’re actually responsible for. Despite what you may have been told verbally if it’s not in writing on a legally binding agreement, it doesn’t count.

Review your Lease or Rental Agreement

Step one is to get out the apartments lease agreement and READ IT CAREFULLY. There should be a section labeled “Utilities” or similar. This section should define what is and is not included in your monthly rent payment.

Most apartments include water and trash in the rent, however, this may not always be the case. Often a tenant will be responsible energy bills like gas, electric, and any other optional utilities.

If something is unclear, or if certain utilities are not listed at all on the apartments lease agreement, always ask to get it in writing as to who is responsible for what energy bill.

How to incorporate electricity savings into your budget

When you are budgeting for your new apartment, you will want to make sure you get an estimate of how much you will likely be spending on electricity every month.

This can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are unfamiliar with electricity terminology and utility bills. We’re here to help. For some tips and tricks, check out our guide to calculating your electricity bill.

The most important step in estimating your costs is to try to break down how you use your electricity. Think about some of these questions:

  • How many loads of laundry do you do every week or month?
  • How often do you cook at home?
  • Do you work from home?
  • How much do you use your central air conditioning and heating? (Or a window AC?)
  • How many showers do you take per day or week or month?
  • Does your apartment have a dishwasher?
  • Does your apartment have any Energy Star rated appliances already installed?
  • Will you have multiple TVs, computers or other electronics all constantly plugged in?

Once you have a big picture view of which of your habits (and/or your roommates’) are using the most electricity, you can start identifying the top opportunities for savings.

Cable

This is an optional expense. With the new high-definition televisions, and their digital antennae, it’s easy to get great reception on network TV, and then you can use online streaming services for the rest of your needs. This will cost you about $20 a month, if you subscribe to two services.

If you want cable, look for a deal. They come along frequently and can save you some money. But be careful; companies often have add-ons like free premium channels for three months, which will then be charged to your account if you don’t cancel when the preliminary deal expires. So make sure to keep an eye on your account, so you know what you’re being charged for. While it’s nice to have cable, and you can usually find introductory deals that include cable and Internet for about $90 a month, it’s still a lot of money compared to using a streaming service or two for about $20 a month.

How much are utilities in a 2 or 3-bedroom apartment?

For a two to three-bedroom, you’re looking at closer to $150-$200 per month for basic utilities and the same $100-$200 premium for internet and cable. But if you create a fair system for dividing bills each roommate can get away with only paying $100 per person, given that everyone’s consumption habits are similar.

The Effect of Roommates on Cost of Utilities

So we’ve been looking at the average costs of utilities for an average family, but how does having a roommate affect what you eventually end up paying?

If you are lucky, a roommate can help alleviate the burden of paying for utilities. 

Having a roommate can also give you a chance to live in a neighborhood that you may otherwise not afford. 

However, if you’re unlucky and end up with a roommate from hell, you may find yourself having more uncomfortable conversations than you want. 

You can avoid the uncomfortable discussions if you’re willing to do the following before agreeing to move in with a roommate. 

Agree Before Moving In Together

Roommates talking together in living-room

Roommates talking together in living-room

If you can’t have an open discussion with someone, then you’re not likely to be good roommates with that person. Good roommates are clear about their expenses and how each one will contribute to the costs and do their best to keep them low.

Write It Down 

Yes, your roommate may be your friend, but you still need to have a formal agreement about your accommodation sharing arrangements and how you will pay the bills. If you think friends always live together in peace, then you haven’t seen those television judge shows that friends drag each other to when much love is lost.

Discuss Possible Scenarios 

So you met your roommate when they were single, but they fell in love during the course of your accommodation sharing arrangement? The new partner semi-moves into the apartment, and it all becomes a crowd. However, your roommate still believes their contribution should be the same as yours.  This example shows why it’s vital to create scenarios and be clear about how you would handle them when they present themselves.

If one of the roommates goes away for extended periods, say during university breaks, you may also need to discuss how this will be handled financially.     

Ask For Prior Utility Bills

The average cost of $200 a month is only just an average. One of the simplest ways of getting an idea of what the utility bills of a specific house or apartment will be is to ask for prior utility bills. 

In most cases, landlords and real estate agents can get these for you. 

Requesting a copy of previous bills will also tell you which utilities were paid by the landlord. Sometimes landlords include utilities as part of the rent but you can only know this if you ask. 

Even though prior electric, water and gas bills will probably vary based on usage, you’ll know with near 100 percent certainty what the trash/recycling and condo fees will cost.

Air conditioning

On average, expect to pay about $250-$300 per year for air conditioning. That said, air conditioning isn’t an evenly-distributed expense: Most people only use it about three to five months a year. And, in some places, like Minnesota or Maine, you may only use it a few times a summer, which makes it a much smaller expense.

If you live in a place with average weather, you’ll be running your A/C May-September and spending about $50-$80 a month extra on your electric bill. However, if you live in a really hot place, like Phoenix or Dallas, you’re going to be paying a lot more per month, for more months — $80-$90 a month (plus regular electricity costs), for eight months a year. So keep that in mind. Your silver lining is that you don’t have to worry much about heating costs.

Research for low monthly rates

Once you’ve determined what you’re responsible for, start shopping around for the best prices. Retail energy providers can help you find the lowest rate and lock it in. Search online for one in your area.

Gas companies are very competitive, with some even offering cash-back incentives to use their service. Cable and phone companies often bundle services for a discount.

Compare:

  • Installation charges
  • Services provided
  • Fees
  • Length of introductory rates

What seems like a bargain to begin with can quickly shoot up once the initial rate expires.

Ways to Lower Your Apartment Utility Bills

All this talk about money have you feeling nervous? We get it. Energy Bills can add up fast, and unless you’ve hit the lotto, you’re likely on a tight budget like the rest of us.

Below are a few quick and easy ways to save on your apartment utility bills. After all, who doesn’t like saving a few bucks and making their hard-earned green go further?

Car Gas Is Also a Utility

There are definitely people out there who would argue against gasoline being a utility. But according to the Small Business Administration, gas is also a utility. It’s not easy to give you an estimate of how much you’d be paying for gas, though, since it mainly depends on the fuel economy of your car and how much you drive. Packing your car to move to Texas will save you some money, but only if the gas price is acceptable. For example, a sports car with a V8 engine would use substantially more fuel than a typical mid-range sedan that the average person drives. You should also expect to pay more for fuel than a sedan or a hatchback if you drive a pickup truck. Hybrid cars are the most economical. One of the most popular cars is the Toyota Prius. If you drive one of those, you are probably one of the people who don’t have to worry about gas very much. We can, however, tell you that Texas has the 4th cheapest gas prices . $2.942 for a regular gallon and $3.258 for a mid-grade gallon.

COST OF LIVING IN TEXAS

The cost of living in Texas can be 8% higher than the U.S. average. According to , Texas is on the rank no. 31 in terms of the average utility bill. The average utility bill per month in the state includes:

  • Electricity – $100.91
  • Natural gas – $110.58
  • Internet – $58.29
  • Cable – $100.00
  • Water – $40.00
  • Total – $409.78

Wondering how much are utilities per month in different Texas cities? Here’s a quick utility cost compilation to help you get a better idea:

Note: The costs can vary based on factors like the size of your apartment, the number of people living, the locality you’re in, and the amount of utility usage.

City/Utilities Average Gas Bil, $ Average Electricity Bill, $ Average Internet Bill. $ Average Water Bill, $ Car Gas, $ Total
Houston $110.58 $155.74 $60.33 $27 $164 $517.65
San Antonio $110.58 $160.26 $65.31 $45.64 $150 $531.79
Dallas $110.58 $128.50 $65.24 $41.23 $1505 $495.55
Austin $110.58 $147.04 $66.59 $70.39 $150 $544.6
Fort Worth $105.26 $122 $60 $40.39 $148 $475.65
El Paso $108.72 $124.36 $60 $42 $150 $485.08

The most expensive city in Texas is Austin. When compared to the national average, the monthly bills here cost 21.7% more. You can expect to shell out about $2300 per month to live comfortably in Austin. The cheapest city in Texas, on the other hand, is Amarillo. It has a cost of living index of just 80.1 as compared to the U.S. average of 100. Whether you’re moving to a large apartment or a small apartment, a more expensive city or a comparatively cheaper one – it’s always best to understand the specific costs of your area. This will help you create and execute your budget smartly.

What electrical appliances are costing you the most?

Let’s break down that usage.

Typically, heating and cooling will account for the largest portion of your monthly electricity usage. Heating and cooling can account for up to 50% of your monthly electricity usage.

The other 50% is used by other major electricity consumers such as water heaters, lighting, washers and dryers, and kitchen appliances. For more information, check out our breakdown of what appliances are driving up your electric bill each month.

As you are budgeting for your apartment, take a moment to think about your own energy habits.

How often do you do laundry? How often do you watch TV? Do you use your AC and heaters often? Once you know your own electricity habits, you can begin to estimate and calculate what your own electricity costs will be.

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