Just how much are utilities in an apartment? These are essential costs to consider before renting an apartment. People often forget to factor in this expense when thinking about how much they can afford. Because utilities are typically the tenant’s responsibility, it’s important to add them to the monthly rental amount to get the total financial picture.
Depending on your building, possible monthly costs to keep track of are gas, electricity, water, garbage collection, and recycling. Other costs that may be considered utilities are phone plans, cable, internet, and streaming services. So whether you live in warm San Diego, CA, or rent an apartment in snowy Buffalo, NY, these utility tips are for you.
How much are utilities in an apartment?
Many factors influence utility costs. The size of the residence, location, utility providers, and usage habits all contribute to the monthly utility bill. For example, in cities like Minneapolis, MN, and Denver, CO, electric bills increase in the winter because people use more energy to heat their homes. Similarly, in hotter regions like New Orleans, LA, the need for air conditioning is greater, which means higher electric bills in the summer.
Consider the following factors when adding up your total monthly costs:
- Apartment Size: The larger the space, the more area to heat, clean, and cool, which increases your monthly expense. A smaller apartment will help ease utility usage.
- Number of Occupants: Additional people typically increase utilities usage across the board, especially electric.
What utility costs are usually covered by the landlord?
In most apartments, landlords typically cover water, sewer, and garbage, which is usually lumped into your monthly rent. You are generally responsible for paying electricity, gas, and any internet, cable, or other bills.
How much is the average electric bill for an apartment?
While there isn’t one single average bill that applies to everyone, the following estimates will give you an idea of what to expect to pay for electricity:
|Average Monthly Electric Bill|
|Studio, one occupant||$55|
|One-bedroom, two occupants||$60|
|One-bedroom, two occupants||$66|
|Two-bedroom, two occupants||$76|
|Three-bedroom, two occupants||$87|
|Three-bedroom, three occupants||$93|
Check out this chart to find the average electric bill for your state.
Ways to save on your electric bill:
- Light bulb replacement: Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs. Make sure to turn off any incandescent bulbs when leaving a room.
- Appliances: Unplug appliances and electronics when they are not in use; they continue to use electricity even when turned off.
- Providers: Research alternative electric providers in your area to compare costs. Different companies may provide incentives to switch, which can save you money.
How much is the average gas bill for an apartment?
The average gas bill can vary more than an electric bill depending on heating systems and appliances, like a stove or furnace. Typically, gas appliances cost less in utilities than their electric counterparts. Below are some average utility bill amounts that a renter could expect to pay:
|Average Monthly Gas Bill|
|Studio, One occupant||$45|
|One-bedroom, One occupant||$47|
|One-bedroom, Two occupants||$51|
|Two-bedroom, Two occupants||$56|
|Three-bedroom, Two occupants||$60|
|Three-bedroom, Three occupants||$65|
Ways you can save on your gas bill:
- Thermostat: Turn down the thermostat at night or when not at home. Consider a smart thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature according to your needs.
- Clothing: Think layers. Additional blankets on the bed or warmer clothing can help you stay comfortable while setting the thermostat to a lower setting.
- Water temperature: If you have access to your water heater, lower the temperature a few degrees. This can save some money on your bill without disrupting your routine.
How much is the average water bill for an apartment?
Unlike electricity and gas, water isn’t typically a cost that renters are responsible for paying. Often landlords include it in the monthly rental amount. If you are accountable for the cost of water, expect to pay an average of $70 per month, increasing with additional occupants..
Ways you can save on your water bill:
Regardless of whether you’re responsible for your water bill or not, there are still ways to limit water use and reduce your carbon footprint at home:
- Showers: Take shorter showers and consider a low-flow showerhead.
- Dishes: Use the dishwasher. The average dishwasher uses 3-5 gallons of water vs. the 25+ you’ll use handwashing. Be sure to fill the dishwasher up fully to avoid wasting water or electricity.
- Clothing: Avoid washing small loads of clothing. Full loads of laundry mean fewer cycles and less water.
How much is the average internet/phone/cable/streaming bill for an apartment?
Don’t forget to include additional costs such as internet, cable, streaming, and phone service. These are additional fees that contribute to your overall monthly bill. Put together, the average American spends $290 on these four services. And, just as with your electricity and heating, there are ways to save here as well.
The average internet bill is around $60 per month, but that can vary widely based on your type of service and speeds. Ways to save money include shopping for competitive rates, purchasing (as opposed to renting) a modem or router, taking advantage of move-in rates, and buying bundled services.
With the rapid increase in streaming services, cutting cable from the bill has never been easier. To save time and money, skip the monthly cable package and subscribe only to the platforms that have the content you enjoy. If you prefer the variety that cable offers, work with a provider to select the right tier and see if you qualify for bundling discounts.
Like the cable option, consider dropping the landline, bundling mobile services, or choosing a prepaid provider. Oftentimes a service provider will throw in extraneous benefits that rack up the cost. Choose the simplest plan that works for you.
How much are utilities in an apartment? Other apartment costs to consider before renting
There are a few other potential fees to consider before renting an apartment. These fees are much harder to negotiate and aren’t typically bundled with other services.
Adding an alarm or apartment security system is your responsibility. You’ll also want to check with your landlord before installing security that connects to the main electrical system.
Finding an apartment that allows pets can be a challenge. Many landlords view them as liabilities and a hazard. If you find a new home for both you and your furry companion, expect to pay a pet deposit and an additional fee on top of your regular rent.
Most landlords require you to have renters insurance. This provides coverage for your personal property against fire, theft, and vandalism, and saves the building from legal hassle. Some policies will also cover your expenses if your apartment becomes uninhabitable. Annual premium costs are very affordable and usually paid annually. You can also bundle renters insurance with auto or life insurance for better rates.
Save money by being knowledgeable and keeping track of expenses. Bundle services when possible, buy what you need, and use less.