Money Tips & Tricks for Renters

What Are Apartment Utilities and How Much Will They Cost Me?

average bills apartment

The cost of rent is a set and transparent expense, but apartment utilities such as electricity, natural gas, water, cable, and internet are not always straight-forward. Although some may be included in rent, the cost of utilities can add up and it’s important to know what you should budget. By doing a bit of research beforehand you will get an idea on how much you should pay, depending on your state.

For instance, if you live in the northern states, you’ll save on utilities by not using air conditioning during the summer months, but you’ll spend more on gas bills in the winter.

Check out this interactive map to see what the typical apartment utility costs are and how much you’re likely to pay each month on average, depending on your home state.

 

What Is the Average Electric Bill?

The electricity bill will likely be one of your highest monthly utility expenses. On average, the typical American uses 41% of their energy on space heating and cooling and 35% 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 cooler places such as Minnesota or Washington.

The number of rooms in your apartment has a big impact on utility bills, as well. The average electric bill for 1-bedroom apartments is roughly $90 per month if you live alone, but it could go up by $45 or more if you live with roommates in a 3-bedroom apartment. For example, if your roommates leave 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.

However, if you have roommates, you should consider using some apps to help you split the bills, which is an easy way to save money.

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What Is the Average Gas Bill?

When it comes to gas costs, the West Coast has some of the lowest prices, due to both low monthly consumption and moderate prices. In Oregon, Washington, California, and Utah, the average gas bill is below $35 a month.

Most people use gas for heating their homes and cooking, but the amounts may differ from the average, since the provider or the local administration could include additional fixed charges or taxes to the bill.

The average gas bill for a 1-bedroom apartment will be around $80 a month during the cold season, if your gas-fueled appliances are high-efficiency. Remember that weather is also an important variable, and low temperatures during winter are always going to bump up the heating bill significantly. The average gas bill for a 3-bedroom apartment with high-efficiency furnace and water heating can reach slightly over $100, but if you have low to average-efficiency appliances, expect to pay over $120 for a 3-bedroom rental.

What Is the Average Internet Bill?

An internet connection is a must-have for most households, and there are plenty of providers nationwide. Internet prices vary from as low as $20 in states like Arizona, Oklahoma, and Nevada, to as much as $50 in Alaska or South Dakota. Of course, depending on the provider and plan you choose, rates may go higher.

If you want to have cable TV, you can contract it separately or in a bundle. By purchasing a bundle, the average internet and cable bill starts around $35. However, streaming services may be a less pricey way to go; if you have a high-speed internet connection, you could skip cable television and just stick to the online instead.

Check out the table at the end of the article to find the best option for your internet and cable bill.

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What Is the Average Water Bill?

Utilities such as water, sewage, or garbage are often included in the rent. Several other services related to water and wastewater provision may be part of a local bill, such as the clean water program, the drinking water program, stormwater policies, and more.

The average daily water usage of a person is roughly 85 gallons. The use is split between the bathtub, the toilet, washing machine, and shower, along with the water used for dishwashing, hygiene, drinking water, and outside use.

Before signing the lease, ask your landlord whether the water bill is included in rent. If the water is paid separately, then you’re looking at an average water bill of about $35 monthly. If you add an average sewer bill, you’re looking at an extra $46 monthly.

On top of this, a small fee may be added to your bill for garbage collection, ranging between $12 and $20, and your rent or city fees probably include this amount already.

What Is the Average Cost of Apartment Utilities?

To see how utilities add up, let’s think about a hypothetical tenant named Tom. Tom lives in Kansas and cranks up the air conditioning during the hot months, but runs high-efficiency heating appliances during the winter. Tom lives with three roommates, never cooks, and likes to take extremely long showers; he has broadband and does not subscribe to any cable TV provider. If you’re like Tom and his roommates, you can expect to pay around $400-$450 per month in total utilities for the apartment.

Besides looking at the average cost of utilities, we also recommend checking with the landlord or the previous tenants to get a better idea of how much utilities cost for a specific apartment.

Check out the table below to find the average utility bills in your state:

Average Cost of Utilities in Every U.S. State

StateElectricityGasWaterSewerCableInternetTOTAL
Alabama$145$81$26$59$45$35$356
Alaska$141$164$95$46$50$50$496
Arizona$133$82$37$43$40$20$335
Arkansas$106$65$22$35$40$30$269
California$116$34$65$56$50$40$320
Colorado$87$47$37$55$40$30$267
Connecticut$159$107$69$40$45$38$421
Delaware$114$80$45$76$40$30$355
District of Columbia$90$72$22$54$40$30$278
Florida$131$105$6$17$40$30$300
Georgia$132$118$29$47$40$30$367
Hawaii$164$122$57$35$45$45$422
Idaho$103$40$37$80$40$30$299
Illinois$92$97$25$25$40$30$279
Indiana$117$122$38$58$40$30$375
Iowa$121$73$28$32$50$50$304
Kansas$115$106$26$28$45$20$319
Kentucky$117$94$49$39$45$35$343
Louisiana$115$55$33$57$50$20$310
Maine$99$104$19$52$45$45$320
Maryland$125$80$42$76$40$30$363
Massachusetts$125$77$30$42$40$30$315
Michigan$102$74$28$43$40$30$286
Minnesota$104$55$27$32$40$30$258
Mississippi$129$63$23$45$40$30$300
Missouri$127$108$38$68$40$20$381
Montana$104$37$34$45$45$45$265
Nebraska$119$68$23$56$45$20$312
Nevada$101$56$25$18$45$20$245
New Hampshire$122$90$26$42$40$30$319
New Jersey$104$66$64$26$45$40$306
New Mexico$81$60$28$23$40$30$232
New York$106$96$44$70$50$30$366
North Carolina$121$63$20$40$45$35$289
North Dakota$133$62$24$24$40$30$283
Ohio$107$148$26$30$45$25$355
Oklahoma$109$71$33$30$35$20$278
Oregon$109$32$37$51$40$30$269
Pennsylvania$113$103$30$26$40$30$313
Rhode Island$117$95$28$42$50$20$332
South Carolina$139$96$27$88$40$25$389
South Dakota$125$50$24$30$50$50$279
Tennessee$127$66$26$63$40$30$322
Texas$132$61$46$85$40$30$364
Utah$80$35$58$77$40$30$290
Vermont$94$89$18$25$40$30$266
Virginia$135$80$36$31$50$20$333
Washington$101$33$57$77$40$30$308
West Virginia$120$69$72$82$45$38$388
Wisconsin$101$77$18$15$45$40$256
Wyoming$101$43$52$57$45$45$299

Methodology:

  • Electricity bill: state average electricity prices for residential consumers (June 2019) multiplied by residential average monthly consumption for each state (in KWh, 2017);
  • Gas bill: state average natural gas prices for residential consumers (June 2019) multiplied by region average natural gas consumption for residential customers (in Btu, 2018);
  • Water bill: local water company rates (service charge + consumption rate per 1000 gallons) for major cities in each state multiplied by consumption estimates for the average household size;
  • Internet and cable bill: identified the cheapest TV and internet plans available locally, from top local and national providers. We used CableTV to identify company coverages for each state and company websites for the cheapest deals and bundles.
  • Garbage bill: National Solid Wastes Management Association.

For more clarity, the following decisions were made:

Gas and electricity bills were calculated based on average consumption and rates, without including fixed charges and taxes that might also be part of the bill, usually set by the provider company or local administration.

Similarly, water bills were calculated including the fixed charge and consumption, but several local programs and taxes were not included.

Water rates differ between companies in the same state, so we used as reference the prices for one of the water companies in the top 3 largest cities in that state. Also, we used in our calculations the prices for ¾” standard meters where meter differences in price exist.

Compare Power’s calculator was used for additional calculations where necessary.

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About the author

Mihaela Buzec

Mihaela is an online content developer for RENTCafé.com. She has a BA in English Language and Literature and is now studying for an MA in Current Linguistics. She is a passionate reader, writer, and researcher, with a background in academic writing. You can get in touch with Mihaela at mihaela.rentcafe@yardi.com.

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