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How Much Are Utilities in an Apartment?

July 29, 2021

Budgeting for your next apartment? Your monthly utility bill is an expense that many people forget about.

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.

Not sure how much utilities cost in an apartment? We've got you covered. Read on for a breakdown of average utility costs, how to save on your various bills, and utility costs by city.

How Much Do Utilities Cost Per Month in an Apartment?

In the US, the average cost of utilities is $240 a month. This estimate includes the basic utilities - electricity, gas, and water

Here’s how much you can expect to pay monthly for each utility:

  • Gas: $30-$50 per month
  • Electricity: $103-$191 per month
  • Water: $28 - $60 per month

That said, the cost of utilities varies by several different factors.

Your location, usage, utility providers, and home size will all play a role in your average utility bill.

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 Minnesota, a state with brutal winters.

How Much Are Utilities in Different Apartment Sizes?

Utility costs differ depending on the bedroom type. Not surprisingly, utilities are going to be cheaper in a space that has smaller square footage like a studio or 1-bedroom than a larger space.

  • The average utility bill for a studio apartment is $114.66
  • The average utility bill for a 1-Bedroom apartment is $125.01
  • The average utility bill for a 2-Bedroom apartment is $194.60

How Much is the Average Electricity Bill?

For a typical one-bedroom apartment with no A/C or heater usage, your electricity bill will likely be around $30-$50.

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. Two major contributing factors will 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.

How to Save Money on Your 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. Hot water, heating, and your stove could all impact your gas bill. Your average gas bill will likely be around $30-$50, but it'll depend on your appliances, where you live, and usage. Natural gas appliances tend to be cheaper than their electric counterparts, something to consider while apartment hunting.

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 Your 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 Water Bill?

The average monthly water bill is around $28 for a single adult and $116 per 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 Your 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 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 Does Heating and Cooling Your Apartment Cost?

Nearly half of the money spent on an average electricity/gas bill covers heating and air conditioning 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's 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 Internet Bill?

Another apartment essential that people may overlook is the internet bill. The cost of an internet bill for your typical internet user will be around $30-$60 a month. However, before choosing your internet service plan, think about your 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're a remote worker and want to get rid of any lag issues, you’ll want to bump that up to 50+ Mbps.

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 Your Internet Bill

Saving money on your internet bill is difficult, but 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.

Other Utility Bills to Consider

Electricity, gas, water, and internet cover the main essential utilities. However, there are a few other bills you'll want to consider.

Cable

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 bills 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.

Streaming Services

Let's face it. You've probably ditched cable TV for a variety of services years ago. 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 $18 a month. Here's a look at some popular 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

Also, look into bundle packages. 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.

Phone Plan

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.

Your phone bill can be pricey, so here are a few of our favorite tips on cutting back that cost.

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 roommates/significant others 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.

Trash

For most renters, your trash collection will not be a part of your total apartment utilities bill. The fee is commonly bundled in with the price of rent or the owner may pay the bill out of pocket. If you'll be in charge. of the trash collection bill, here's what you should know.

Trash 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.

Average Utility Bills by City

Making a move to a new city, and not sure how much your new utility bill will be? Find out how much the average utility costs will be in your next home to properly map out your monthly budget.

CitiesAverage Electricity BillAverage Gas BillAverage Water BillAverage Fuel BillAverage Utility Bill
Bridgeport, CT$184.97$74.44$35.59$58.58$353.57
New Haven, CT$166.38$66.12$36.59$42.53$311.62
Boston, MA$135.20$81.67$46.58$32.78$296.22
Stockton, CA$161.80$64.37$68.82$1.12$296.10
Birmingham, AL$196.29$45.92$51.46$0.76$294.43
Worcester, MA-CT$153.43$50.31$32.70$55.19$291.63
Hartford, CT$149.79$58.32$32.99$48.91$290.01
Scranton, PA$125.38$76.32$52.93$25.62$280.24
Kansas City, MO$157.53$67.30$52.76$1.54$279.12
Providence, RI$130.38$75.34$39.07$33.26$278.06

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AUTHOR
Justin is a Content Manager and contributing author at Apartment List, helping people navigate the world of renting. Justin previously spent his time earning his BBA in Marketing from Boise State University. Read More
AUTHOR
Davina Ward is a contributing author at Apartment List and freelance writer specializing in real estate and digital marketing. She received her B. Read More
SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
Rob is a senior research associate at Apartment List, where he examines trends in the housing and rental markets. Previously he worked in public health policy, and before that, graduated from UCLA with a degree in Globalization. Read More
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