How Much Do Utilities Cost in an Apartment?
What are Utilities?
Utilities refer to housing expenses that include electricity, gas, water, garbage collection, and recycling. Today, the definition of utilities has been expanded to include internet service (WiFi), cable/streaming services, and cell phone service. Whether you rent or own your home, you’ll likely be required to pay for utilities.
How Much Do Utilities Cost?
In the US, the average cost of basic utilities, including electricity, gas, and water, is $240 a month. That comes out to $2,880 a year.
Here’s how much you can expect to pay monthly for each basic utility:
- Gas: $30-$50
- Electricity: $103-$191
- Water: $28 - $60
That said, the cost of utilities varies by location and provider. So, you may experience higher or lower rates. For example, you’ll pay much higher water rates in the state of California than you will in any of the states surrounding the Finger Lakes.
Likewise, living in a state with a mild climate like Tennessee means you’ll spend a lot less on heating costs than you would in a state with brutal winters like Minnesota.
How Much is the Average Electricity Bill?
Your electricity bill will likely be the largest portion of your total utility bill, so it’s important to know what you’re paying for. There are two major contributing factors that’ll determine the extent of your electricity bill.
1. The Size of Your Apartment: The bigger the home the more space you’ll have to heat or cool if those appliances are electric. Consider both your floor space and the height of your ceiling. Both can impact your electric bill total.
2. The Number of Roommates: This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you have multiple roommates, that means you're using more lights and appliances, and more phones are being charged. Prepare for your electricity bill to be significantly higher if you live with roommates. For a typical one-bedroom apartment with no A/C or heater usage, your electricity bill will likely be around $30-$50.
How to Save Money on My Electricity Bill
The best way to save money on your electricity bill is to target habits and appliances that drive costs up. Fortunately, it’s easy to identify major electricity-drainers, such as A/C usage and continuous light usage.
Here are some of the biggest electricity-drainers and how to reduce their use.
- A/C &/or Space Heater: These two appliances combine for over 32% of residential electricity usage. That’s an insane number! Though you don’t have to toss these appliances to the curb, simply reducing your use of them can result in big savings.
- Water Heater: Water heating makes up 14% of residential electricity usage. Simply turning your water heater down a few notches can help to reduce your costs. Most water heaters are set to 140℉, but only need to be set at 120℉.
- Lighting: Lighting makes up over 10% of electricity usage in the average American household. Invest in energy-efficient LED light bulbs and remember to turn down the lights, to save in this category.
- Electricity Provider: Have you done a cost analysis of electricity costs by provider? If not, get on it — you could be overspending. Switching providers takes less than 5 minutes. That can save you up to 40% a month.
How Much is the Average Gas Bill?
The gas bill can be a bit tricky. Be sure to check out your appliances to see what might affect your gas bill.
In the case that your oven/stove uses a gas range as opposed to electric, you’ll be charged for the use of the natural gas. Luckily, gas appliances tend to be cheaper than their electric counterparts. Even if you cook every night, the cost of the cooking gas shouldn’t total to more than $15 a month.
Your gas bill and electric bill will typically be lumped together. Going on your utility provider’s website and looking at a bill summary will give you an overview of your gas and electricity usage.
How to Save Money on My Gas Bill
When it comes to gas use, heating and cooling are going to be the primary culprits of a high gas bill. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to reduce gas use, by addressing your heating and cooling habits within your home.
Here are some heating and cooling tips to help you lower your gas bill.
- Turn off your heat when you're not home. Unless you have a pet, if no one is home, then your heat should be off. If you’ve invested in a smart thermostat, then you can program it to turn on right before you arrive home. If not, simply turn it on when you arrive.
- Don't turn your heat all the way down. It takes more energy and gas to heat your home warmer from 50℉ to 65℉ than it would take to heat it from 60℉ to 65℉.
- Reduce drafts. In cooler months, poorly-insulated windows and doors can be drafty which reduces the efficiency of your heating. Not only does warm air escape through these openings, but cool air gets in. Take the time to identify and reduce drafts in your home. The is especially important in older homes or apartment units!
- Bundle up. Seriously. Opt for heavier blankets, thick lounging sweaters, fuzzy house slippers, and a comfy robe. Reducing your heating bill is as simple as wearing warmer clothes around the house.
- Reduce oven use in the summer. If possible, stick to stovetop recipes in the summer months. Heating a gas-powered oven can use up a lot of gas. Not to mention, oven use in warmer months can cause your apartment to heat up.
How Much is the Average Heating Bill?
The cost of heating can be included in your electric and gas bill or be lumped into your rent. For a gas heater, the average monthly cost is $40.
Electricity is more pricey and could come in at around $160 per month. If you’re unsure of what to expect for heating costs, ask the landlord what type of heating is in the apartment. Then, call the utility company and ask for the average monthly bill for that address.
How to Save Money on My Heating Bill
Nearly half of the money spent on your electricity bill covers heating and cooling costs. This averages to over $900 a year for the average American household. If you want to recoup that loss, you’re in luck.
Here a few tips that’ll help you save big on your heating bill.
- Invest in a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat reduces unnecessary heating and cooling costs by giving you more control over the settings and leveraging the power of automation. Some electricity providers offer incentives for customers who install compliant smart thermostats, so it’s a bonus win.
- Heat your home more effectively. As the saying goes, “Heat the person, not the room.” Unless you live in a place that experiences freezing temperatures, you may get away with reducing your heating costs by simply bunding up a bit more in the cooler months. If you can walk around in shorts comfortably in your home during the winter, you’ve likely got the heat way too high. Grab a blanket, some sweats, and a mug of something warm instead.
- Don’t rely on A/C alone to cool your home. Air conditioners are notorious for their energy-draining qualities. Limit A/C use by employing other, more eco- and budget-friendly options. Keep your windows open at night to let in cooler air. Keep them closed during the day to keep warm air out. If possible, keep one room cool and spend more time in there, rather than trying to cool your entire apartment.
How Much is the Average Water Bill?
The average monthly water bill is $28.24 for a single adult. It’s $116 a month for a family household.
Water use and cost is measured per 1,000 gallons. The average cost of water per 1,000 gallons sits at $11.48.
Additionally, the average American is estimated to use 82 gallons of water a day at home. Combined, this data suggests that the average single American racks up a $.94 water use debt daily.
How to Save Money on My Water Bill
Water is a precious resource that most tend to take for granted due to its convenience. Careless water usage can not only affect your water bill, but it can have detrimental effects on the environment, causing groundwater tables to drop and decreasing water accessibility to wildlife.
To take a stand for the environment (and your wallet!), it's crucial to be more conscious and mindful of your water usage. Here's how you can reduce your water usage.
- Invest in a dishwasher. Washing dishes by hand can use up to 27 gallons of water per load. Using a dishwasher uses just 3 gallons of water per load. Simple.
- Run your washing machine only when you have a full load. We're all guilty of washing a load of laundry that doesn't even fill half the washer's load capacity. However, these extra washes mean extra loads. Using an ENERGY STAR certified washing machine can result in 25% less energy use and 33% less water usage than a regular washer.
- Is your toilet running? No, that's not the start of a prank call. It's a legitimate water-waster. Running toilets are those that continuously use water in an effort to fill the toilet bowl. These toilets need repairing or replacement. They can cause a loss of up to 26 gallons of water per day.
- Take shorter showers. A single bath can use up to 50 gallons of water, whereas a 10-minute shower can use as little as 25 gallons of water. Treat baths as a rare treat, and stick to short showers on a daily basis.
How Much is the Average Internet Bill?
Another apartment essential that people may overlook is the internet bill. Before choosing your internet service plan, think about your internet usage.
Consider how many devices will be using the internet and what they’ll be doing. If you just casually browse the web or social media, you can make do with a cheaper plan. Speeds of about 6-10 Mbps should be adequate for your usage.
For internet activities that require more data such as video streaming or online gaming, you’re going to need faster speeds. Look for a plan with speeds of at least 20+ Mbps. If you want to get rid of any lag issues, you’ll want to bump that up to 50+ Mbps.
If you’re having a difficult time determining how fast your internet speed needs to be, this quiz will give you a better idea. The cost of an internet bill for your typical internet user will be around $30-$60 a month. If your internet connection is spotty, look into Wi-Fi extenders. These can provide you with a more steady connection without you having to upgrade your plan.
How to Save Money on My Internet Bill
Saving money on your internet bill is difficult, but definitely possible. You will have to put in a little work, though. Here are a few obscure ways to save big on your internet bill!
- Buy your own modem or router. Avoid paying the monthly rental fee for these devices by making a one-time purchase of your own. Just be aware that you'll have to send back any equipment your provider sent you to avoid accruing fees for the equipment you aren't using.
- Bundle your services. If you’re working with a provider that offers cellular, cable, or additional services, check out their bundling rates against your current bill. You may be able to save big on your monthly bill and get higher speeds and bandwidth just by opting into a bundled service.
- Call your provider. Giving customer service a call to let them know that you’re considering switching services can result in matched or even lower rates than the competition. Providers value your patronage. So, if you're enjoying the service, but are looking for better savings, let them know.
- Use a mobile hotspot. If you have a cell phone plan that offers an unlimited mobile hotspot, you can use your mobile hotspot to power some of your devices and opt for a lower-tier internet service plan to save.
How Much is the Average Cable Bill?
Cable is not as necessary as it once was as there are more streaming alternatives available than ever before. This is a completely optional expense. Many people can get by without paying for cable. The number of cord-cutters (those who cancel their cable services, due to less expensive Internet-based options) in the US is expected to grow to 40.1 million this year.
If you can’t live without cable, consider what you’re watching. Lower tier packages might suit your needs just fine and can be as cheap as $20.
Most people opt for more premium packages. Average cable plans are around $50 a month, and adding on the extras can put you in the $70-$80 range. The top-tier packages could put you over $100 a month.
How to Save Money on My Cable Bill
Cable is one of those services that have definitely seen a drop in popularity in recent years. That said, if you're attempting to reduce your cable bill, there are many budget-friendly options available. Here are some tips to help you lower your cable bill.
- Try a streaming service. These services offer a ton of variety and often have full seasons of shows that you may watch on cable. Better yet, all these streaming services have costs under $15 a month or $180 a year. Here's a look at your streaming service options:
- Netflix: $8.99 - $17.99
- Disney+: $7.99 - $12.99
- Hulu: $5.99 - $11.99
- Apple TV+: $4.99 - $15.99
- HBO Max: $15
- Bundle services. Many cable providers offer discounts when you bundle different services including internet and cell phone service. If you’re having a great experience with your provider, then switching all your services to a single provider can help you maximize your savings.
- Switch providers. New customer discounts are usually wildly generous. If you’re unhappy with your current bill, shop different providers to gain those sweet new customer discounts.
How Much is the Average Phone Bill?
According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends $94 a month on their cell phone bill. This translates to $1,128 a year, which is around the price of most smartphones these days. Most families don't use landline phones anymore, so we've only included data for cell phone plans.
Generally, cell phone bills include the cost of the rented or leased device, carrier service, taxes, fees, and the cost of any add-ons you may have. However, you'll need to scrutinize your cell phone bill to fully understand what the company is charging you.
How to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill
There are many frugal souls who have managed to secure a monthly phone bill that is a fraction of that price. However, that kind of remarkable savings ability takes time and effort.
Your costs may vary based on location, carrier, plan, and whether you own or rent your device. That said, it's possible to save big on your phone bill each month. Here's how:
- Calculate the costs of leasing or buying your device. Many cell phone service carriers enable you to lease your current cell phone for a fixed monthly rate. You can then opt to buy the phone outright or upgrade to a newer phone. Unless you need the newest phone, purchasing your phone outright may save you money and interest in the long run.
- Shop around. The contractless movement is growing. Many consumers benefit from great savings and decent service by opting out of yearly cell phone service providers. If you prefer the guaranteed speed and reliability of a contract-based plan, shop around to catch a deal.
- Add service lines. Most cell phone service providers offer deep discounts for those who add more lines to their plan. You can stay on a plan with your family to reduce costs, or you may be able to add friends to your plan.
- Really consider your data usage. Look at your data usage trends. You can usually find this information on your phone or on your profile with your provider. If you’re paying for an unlimited data plan, but only use 2 GB a month, you can save big by switching to a plan with lower data limits.
How Much is the Average Garbage Bill?
Garbage collection and recycling costs vary greatly from location to location. So, it's nearly impossible to get an average cost for garbage collection.
Rates are typically determined by local-level governments, such as cities or counties, or private waste collection companies. As a result, the amount you'll pay for waste collection is essentially a roll of the dice.
For example, Sunnyvale, California residents pay a set garbage collection fee based on their resident type and the size of their cart. A multifamily unit with a large cart must pay a monthly fee set at $115.68. Those in Athens County, Georgia must pay $37.60 a month for a large 64-gallon cart.
That said, most renters don't pay for garbage collection directly. The fee may be bundled in with the price of rent or the owner may pay the bill out of pocket.
How to Save Money on Your Trash Collection Bill
If you're spending a ton on trash collection, it's definitely worth it to try to reduce costs. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to save on your waste collection expenses.
- Shop around. If there are multiple trash collection services in your area, do your due diligence to determine which one offers you the best bang for your buck.
- Reduce your trash cart size. Many trash collection companies issue standard trash carts. Those are designed to serve a multi-person household. If you find yourself rarely filling your trash cart, then ask for a smaller cart, which might lead to a lower monthly rate.
- Deliver your trash to the landfill. If you're willing and able to, you might be able to save tons by physically carting your trash to the dump yourself. Sure it's notably less convenient, but it can also lead to hundreds in savings. Keep in mind that the landfill might be quite far from your home, so it could be a trek.
What Utilities are Included in my Lease?
First, you should thoroughly review your lease. If you notice that your landlord covers the cost of many common utilities (i.e. trash and water), you’re likely paying a premium for rent.
If your rent looks like a bargain, you might be covering the costs of all of your utilities. Check your lease to see what utilities you’ll be paying for. Make sure to factor that into your budgeting.
While it varies from landlord to landlord, it’s common for renters to have their trash and water bill covered by their landlord. The renter will then be responsible for the electric and gas bill. Even though it’s common for these utilities to be covered, it’s not ensured.
The bill for trash and recycling services usually costs between $12-$20 a month. Water usage varies. However, the average water bill for one-bedroom apartments is usually around $70 per month.
What is Renter’s Insurance?
While it’s not a utility, you should consider the cost of renter’s insurance in your budget. Renter’s insurance is usually not required, but double-check your lease as some landlords demand some sort of insurance.
Renter’s insurance is similar to homeowner’s insurance. It differs as there’s no coverage for the physical building.
It covers the cost of your possessions that have been lost or damaged due to burglary, fires, vandalism, etc. Renter’s insurance will also cover you in any potential liability claims.
Even if it’s not necessary for your apartment or required by law, look into coverage. The small monthly cost is worth it. Renter’s insurance is usually only around $15-$30 a month. It’s well worth the price for a little peace of mind!
What's the Average Utility Cost for My City?
Considering moving to a new city, and looking to get your budget in order? Find out how much the average utility costs will be in your next home!
|Cities||Average Electricity Cost||Average Gas Cost||Average Water Cost||Average Fuel Cost||Average Utility Cost|
|New Haven, CT||$166.38||$66.12||$36.59||$42.53||$311.62|
|Kansas City, MO||$157.53||$67.30||$52.76||$1.54||$279.12|
Cities With the Most Expensive Utilities
Learn about the cities with the highest utility costs across the country that. Be sure to budget for these high costs when planning your move!
- The average utility cost in Bridgeport, CT is $259.41
- The average electricity cost in Bridgeport, CT is $184.97
- The average gas cost in Bridgeport, CT is $74.44
This coastal town boasts a temperate climate and experiences four distinct seasons every year. Bridgeport residents keep cool in the long, hot summers and stay warm during New England winters.
There’s a current energy increase hike in consideration. That could raise monthly costs by as much as $12.55.
New Haven, CT
- The average utility cost in New Haven, CT is $232.50
- The average electricity cost in New Haven, CT is $166.38
- The average gas cost in New Haven, CT is $66.12
Home to the famed campuses of Yale University, New Haven is another coastal Connecticut city known for its high utility rates. Similar to Bridgeport, which is less than 20 miles away, New Haven experiences cold winters and hot, humid summers. Residents use lots of A/C in the summers and lots of gas in the winter to stay comfortable.
- The average utility cost in Boston, MA is $216.86
- The average electricity cost in Boston, MA is $135.2
- The average gas cost in Boston, MA is $81.67
Although the harsh and precipitous New England winter phenomenon is largely responsible for Boston’s place on this list, the city also fully experiences each of the four seasons. Boston residents should expect high A/C usage in the summer. They should also expect shoveling and high heating costs in the colder months.
- The average utility cost in Stockton, CA is $226.17
- The average electricity cost in Stockton, CA is $161.80
- The average gas cost in Stockton, CA is $64.37
Stockton’s water rates have increased since 2016, with more increases planned up to 2025. Additionally, Stockton has a new “owner-only” system in which property owners are responsible for utility charges. As a result, tenants can expect bills mailed to their apartment or higher rent rates that reflect the shift.
- The average utility cost in Birmingham, AL is $242.20
- The average electricity cost in Birmingham, AL is $196.29
- The average gas cost in Birmingham, AL is $45.92
As a major city of the Southern U.S, Birmingham, Alabama is known for its warm weather. Winters are mild with very few days that reach below freezing temperatures.
Summers are hot. So, A/C and cooling costs will be the most impactful item on your utility bill.
- The average utility cost in Worcester, MA-CT is $203.74
- The average electricity cost in Worcester, MA-CT is $153.43
- The average gas cost in Worcester, MA-CT is $50.31
The New England climate is no joke with cold, snowy winters, and hot humid summers. The result is wildly high heating and cooling costs year-round.
Additionally, Worcester weather is prone to rapid changes. So, regulating utility costs can be challenging.
- The average utility cost in Hartford, CT is $208.11
- The average electricity cost in Hartford, CT is $149.79
- The average gas cost in Hartford, CT is $58.32
Harford, Connecticut boasts a humid continental climate. Long, cold winters cause high heating bills. Then, hot humid summers result in high cooling costs.
Fortunately, the spring and fall months are relatively mild. Unfortunately, they aren’t mild enough to cancel out the high winter and summer utility costs.
- The average utility cost in Scranton, PA is $201.69
- The average electricity cost in Scranton, PA is $125.38
- The average gas cost in Scranton, PA is $76.32
As another humid continental climate-driven city, Scranton, Pennsylvania experiences its fair share of hot summer months and cold winter months. Water rates in the city are unusually high. They can add an extra $52.93 to your monthly utility bill.
Kansas City, MO
- The average utility cost in Kansas City, MO is $224.83
- The average electricity cost in Kansas City, MO is $157.53
- The average gas cost in Kansas City, MO is $67.30
Kansas City is not located in the state of Kansas, nor is it known for its affordable utility rates. Though water costs remain around the average, residents experience high electricity and gas costs. High rates are the result of hot and cold swings during the summer and winter months.
- The average utility cost in Providence, RI is $205.73
- The average electricity cost in Providence, RI is $130.38
- The average gas cost in Providence, RI is $75.34
Providence is another New England city experiencing the typical snowy cold winters and hot, humid summers. However, the Atlantic Ocean keeps the state warmer than other New England cities. That’s why it’s a little lower on the list. Its heating and cooling costs aren’t as extreme.
Cities With the Least Expensive Utilities
Thinking of moving to one of these cities? You're in luck! These are the 10 cities with the lowest utility costs.
Boise City, ID
- The average utility cost in Boise City, ID is $186.55
- The average electricity cost in Boise City, ID is $104.19
- The average gas cost in Boise City, ID is $36.89
Boise City boasts low utility rates due to a generally mild climate, infrastructure improvements made in past years, and incremental water rate increases. That said, the bubble might burst in 2021. That’s because SUEZ, the company providing water service, is proposing a 22% rate increase.
North Port, FL
- The average utility cost in North Port, FL is $195.35
- The average electricity cost in North Port, FL is $139.32
- The average gas cost in North Port, FL is $6.65
Another Florida city for those looking to save on their utility bill, North Port isn’t the cheapest city on this list. However, it’s in the running.
Electricity costs are killer there during the hot months of summer. However, residents get a reprieve during the milder months of winter.
Palm Bay, FL
- The average utility cost in Palm Bay, FL is $196.91
- The average electricity cost in Palm Bay, FL is $144.40
- The average gas cost in Palm Bay, FL is $8.92
If you’re looking for locales with low utility costs, head to warmer climates. Without the influence of wildly cold winters, heating costs are low and manageable. That’s the case for Palm Bay, Florida. It’s warm pretty much all year round, so you’ll only experience utility rate leaps in summer months.
Cape Coral, FL
- The average utility cost in Cape Coral, FL is $197.26
- The average electricity cost in Cape Coral, FL is $148.03
- The average gas cost in Cape Coral, FL is $3.44
As another Florida city with low utility rates, Cape Coral, Florida is warm throughout the year with mild winters. The average low temperature for January is a high 54℉. So, it’s more of an extended Spring.
Heating costs remain low year-round. Cooling costs experience an increase during summer months.
- The average utility cost in Albuquerque, NM is $199.70
- The average electricity cost in Albuquerque, NM is $99.06
- The average gas cost in Albuquerque, NM is $53.39
The cold desert climate of Albuquerque, New Mexico has a misleading name. The city generally experiences consistent warm, mild weather.
The desert climate contributes to the pattern of warm days and cool nights. That translates to low utility costs all around.
El Paso, TX
- The average utility cost in El Paso, TX is $200.91
- The average electricity cost in El Paso, TX is $101.14
- The average gas cost in El Paso, TX is $48.19
Winters in El Paso are mild to cool and summers are long and hot. While water rates are on the high end, gas and electricity rates are on the lower end.
The trade-off for low utility costs is some pretty extreme weather phenomena. Those include frequent dust storms, flooding, and thunderstorms.
- The average utility cost in Ogden, UT is $205.35
- The average electricity cost in Ogden, UT is $98.41
- The average gas cost in Ogden, UT is $62.73
Ogden residents don’t experience frigid winter temperatures. However, the snow can really pile up.
With the cool temperatures, heating costs are significant, but not astronomical. Luckily, the hot summer months make for a consistently low utility bill year-round. As a bonus, water rates are on the low end of average.
Salt Lake City, UT
- The average utility cost in Salt Lake City, UT is $207.98
- The average electricity cost in Salt Lake City, UT is $94.31
- The average gas cost in Salt Lake City, UT is $63.36
Generally, electricity costs will make up the bulk of your utility bill. Fortunately, Salt Lake City residents benefit from some of the lowest electricity costs in the country. With hot dry summers and cold winters, these low rates make a big difference on the average utility bill.
- The average utility cost in Denver, CO is $207.98
- The average electricity cost in Denver, CO is $102.53
- The average gas cost in Denver, CO is $52.76
Denver’s high elevation contributes to a desert-climate-esque pattern of warmer days and dramatically cooler nights. It’s a natural solution that results in lower utility costs, especially during the summer months.
Though Denver winters are cold, gas rates aren’t too high. That makes for a more reasonable utility bill.
- The average utility cost in Deltona, FL is $208.54
- The average electricity cost in Deltona, FL is $153.35
- The average gas cost in Deltona, FL is $6.60
Gas costs in Deltona, Florida are almost laughably low. However, they aren’t unexpected considering the very mild winters and hot summers the city experiences.
Electricity rates throughout the year will have the biggest impact on your utility bill. Water rates are low, as well.