Your Guide to Apartment Utilities

When touring an apartment, it’s critical to discuss both the rent and the apartment utility costs with your property manager or landlord. Apartment utilities can be difficult to calculate – costs are dependent on region, usage, age of home, appliances, providers, and a credit check – but they should be included in your budgeting plan.

You’ll likely have to reach out to local utility providers if you’re moving into a home that doesn’t include utilities, or if the apartment doesn’t contract out to any particular company. Utility bills can fluctuate throughout the year because of seasonality, and you may end up paying more for the same plan without doing the right kind of research.

Use our extensive apartment utilities guide for all of your apartment utility questions. We know you have some, so continue on you wondering minds!

FINDING APARTMENT UTILITY PROVIDERS IN ANOTHER STATE

Are you moving out of state? You might be in a panic knowing that you need to start searching for utility providers in another state. Stressing is overrated – you can find utility providers in your new location with just a quick search on the Internet!

Some apartment communities may have a set list of utility vendors that you have to use. If they don’t, you’re free to choose your own providers. A long-distance move is a big deal that requires careful planning. Let’s go over the general types of utilities most commonly found in apartments.

Water & Sewer

Your water and sewer usage are measured by a meter. Your water and sewer bill can either be billed to your individual apartment or to the apartment community. Apartment communities that are given the bill will split the total amount by the number of households on the property. Residents will then add the distributed amount to their next rent payment.

According to Statista, a family of four pays on average $70 a month for water, with each family member using approximately 100 gallons. Learn to conserve water by shrinking your usage at home!

Electricity

Just like water, an apartment dweller’s electricity usage is measured using a meter. Heating and cooling units use more power than any other home appliance, including a water heater and washer/dryer. There are numerous ways to save on your energy bill. You can then use those savings to fund something special for your home, like a living room set!

NPR reports that a house uses an average of 908 kilowatts each month. At a cost of $0.12 per kilowatt, the average electric bill will run $109. Your bill, of course, may be more or less dependent on the size of your apartment, the number of appliances (and their age), and if you have a roommate.

Natural Gas

Does your apartment use natural gas? Most natural gas companies measure a customer’s usage with the therm metric. You can view your annual usage trend on your gas bill, so you can track which months have a heavier usage than others.

The average price of a therm is $1.05, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Renters will see more therms in winter because of heating the apartment, whereas the summer months will have a decrease in gas usage but a spike in electric (due to cooling). 

Trash

Your trash expense is generally included in your rent unless your apartment has valet waste services. You typically don’t get to choose the provider. Trash pickup companies are contracted by the apartment community and residents pay a monthly fee.

Renters tend to pay between $25 and $35 a month for valet trash, according to Property Manager Insider.

Internet, Cable, and Phone 

You can easily create and set up your Wi-Fi, cable, and phone plan from inside your apartment. Allconnect allows you to research the best plans for your budget.

These utility costs vary greatly depending on the Internet speed, phone, and cable plans you go with. Think about bundling all three for greater savings. An average bill can be upwards of $250 in some cases, so put your investigation skills to work (everyone has them) and bundle! Bundle real good.

Security

Safety is a top priority for renters in an apartment. Talk with your property manager about installing a security system in the unit.

Home security services like ADT can go for $30 a month, and may or may not include a service fee for the equipment.

BUDGETING FOR APARTMENT UTILITIES

Creating a budget for your apartment utilities is similar to budgeting for an apartment. You’ll want to save a small amount of your paycheck to go towards your utility budget. The apartment utility bills won’t be the same price each month, since the total cost factors in usage, inflation, rental equipment, service fees, and seasonality.

If you’re beginning to set up utilities in your home, a local provider may check your credit history to see your prior bill payment history.

During your search, you’ll see that a lot of utility providers include an easy-to-use utility cost calculator on their website. Renters may want to look for an apartment with utilities already included for convenience – and everyone likes convenience! The benefit of choosing a utilities-included apartment is that you don’t have to pay for an additional service – it’s already incorporated into your rent price!

SEASONALITY UTILITY SAVINGS TIPS FOR RENTERS

Seasonality affects your utility bills. Hot and humid outside temperatures will make you blast the AC inside your apartment. Cooler weather might make your home too cold, making you reach for the thermostat to increase the heat. Slash your utility bills, and be the defender of your 600-square-foot fortress, with these savings tips!

Spring

You can definitely save on your spring utility bills. Opening your windows and letting in a cross-breeze can help lower your electric bill. Also, put in a maintenance request to have your AC filters changed. According to the Department of Energy, frequently changing the filter can decrease energy consumption by 15 percent.

Summer

Keeping the blinds closed and curtains shut can block out unwanted heat in your home. Turning on the ceiling fans will lower your home temperature by a couple of degrees, affording you the opportunity to turn off your thermostat temporarily and still stay cool. 

Fall

Fall is an excellent time to seal off any openings that may leak out air, which could increase your gas and electric bills. Weather this time of year is typically pleasant, and opening the windows can keep your home temperature regulated.

Winter

Winter is cold – there’s no doubt about it – and you need to keep warm without cranking up the heat. Keep your heat bill low by opening up the blinds to let the sunshine in. While it’s understandable that you want to wear the comfiest clothes in your apartment, bundling up a tad with socks and long sleeves can help you save money.

Do you have a fireplace? Well, use it! You’ll be able to keep the thermostat low and let the warm, crackling fire heat your home. Sounds cozy!

SPLITTING UTILITIES WITH ROOMMATES

Managing money and bills with roommates can be challenging. You might have that one roommate who likes to sleep with the TV on and run up the electric bill, and another who enjoys the comforts of a long (ahem, very long) and hot shower.

Draft a roommate agreement to make sure everyone is paying their fair share of apartment utilities. If it’s in writing, everyone in the household can know exactly what’s expected of them. Make it clear how you’ll split the utility costs. Is one person collecting the money? State exactly who that someone is in the roommate agreement.

Two common ways to split money is by dividing the total cost evenly, and the second way is to portion out the cost based on income. My preferred method is the first because it’s a less complicated approach. Whichever way you end up choosing, sharing the bills with roommates definitely helps relieve some financial burdens. 

Apartment utilities are never going away. Hopefully, this article helped to answer some of your questions about them. Whether you stay in your apartment long term or move after a year, you’ll run into utilities again in your next place. After all, you need stuff like water, electricity, and gas to live comfortably, right?

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