What are average utility costs?

A study from the U.S. Energy Administration report

A study from the U.S. Energy Administration reported that the average monthly energy bill was about $112. Depending on where you live (hot or cold climates) and how much energy you consume, this could be your biggest expense.

Renters may pay about 20 percent of rent on utilities. If you have roommates, this cost may go down to about 10 percent. (It pays to live with others!)

To give you an idea, here are some average numbers for how much apartment utilities cost each month:

  • Electricity: $70 (excluding air/heat/stove)
  • Air conditioning: $65 (averaged over the year)
  • Heat: $65 (averaged over the year)
  • Internet and cable: $100 (depends on the services you choose)
  • Water: $50
  • Trash and recycling: $20
  • Renters insurance: $13 (about $150 billed annually)
  • Parking: Highly dependent on area, could be $150 in urban areas
  • Cooking gas: $10
  • Total costs: ~$400 (more if high-priced parking is necessary)

When it comes to cooking, you might pay anywhere from $15 to $100 per month on your gas bill depending on how often you use your gas cooking range or oil heater. If your apartment uses an electric stove or heater, your gas bill will be significantly less, if not already bundled with the cost of your rent.

You might not be directly responsible for everything above, and they’re just estimates, which can be higher or lower than your actual utility costs.

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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

Careless water usage can not only affect your water bill, but it can have detrimental effects on the environment.

Here's how you can reduce your water usage.

  • Invest in a dishwasher. Handwashing dishes can use up to 27 gallons of water, whereas using a dishwasher uses just 3 gallons of water per load.
  • Consider getting an ENERGY STAR certified washing machine: Using an ENERGY STAR certified washing machine can result in 25% less energy use and 33% less water usage than a regular washer.
  • Fix a running toliet Running toilets are those that continuously use water to fill the toilet bowl. These toilets need repairing or replacement, since 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.

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.

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. Some electricity providers offer incentives for customers who install compliant smart thermostats, so it’s a bonus win.
  • Heat your home more effectively. 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.
  • Don’t rely on A/C alone to cool your home. Limit A/C use by employing other, more eco- and budget-friendly options. Keep your windows open at night to let in cooler air. Then close them 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.

Research for low monthly rates

Once you’ve determined what you’re responsible for, start shopping around for the best prices. Retail energy providers can help you find the lowest rate and lock it in. Search online for one in your area.

Gas companies are very competitive, with some even offering cash-back incentives to use their service. Cable and phone companies often bundle services for a discount.

Compare:

  • Installation charges
  • Services provided
  • Fees
  • Length of introductory rates

What seems like a bargain to begin with can quickly shoot up once the initial rate expires.

Utilities

Utilities for a home generally include water, electricity, gas and garbage service. For a family of four in Iowa, the water bill can range between $45 and $60 each month. The average electric bill for homeowners in Iowa is approximately $90 each month, and gas bills average around $60 per month. Waste removal services can range between $10 and $20 per month, depending on availability and location.

Approximate Cost of Utilities in Iowa Per Month: $215 Approximate Cost of Utilities in Iowa Per Year: $2,580

Heating and Air Conditioning Different Variables Affect Cost

Average Heating Bill: $21.56 – $26.13 (3 – 4 months/year) Average Air Conditioning Bill: $21.56 – $26.13 (3 – 4 months/year)

Heating and cooling usually make up 35%-40% of your energy bill.

A few things to consider when trying to estimate energy costs…

  • How large is the residence? The more square footage you have the more costly it will be to keep maintain a certain temperature.
  • What’s the climate like? Very hot or cold climates will mean higher energy bills.
  • How old are the appliances? If your HVAC system is 10-15 years old it’s likely going to be less efficient than a newer unit.
  • How well insulated is the home? Are windows double-pane and well sealed? Is the house older? Then it likely isn’t as well insulated as a newer home.

Once you’ve figured all this out, here are some energy saving tips.

Energy Saving Tips

While many of the factors above are going to be largely out of your control, there’s plenty you can do to save energy when it comes to heating and air conditioning.

  • Thermostats: When it comes to setting the temperature in your home, keep things set as warm as you can stand in the summer and as cold as you’re comfortable with in the winter in order to keep your heat and A/C running as little as necessary.
  • Ducts: Make sure your ducts are well-maintained, regularly checking for and sealing leaks to ensure efficient use of your heating and cooling equipment.
  • Fans: According to SplendidFans, ceiling and floor fans use way less energy than air conditioning, as long as you can remember to turn them off when you leave the room.
  • Windows: You can also keep your home cool by closing shutters during the day opening windows at night in the summer. Opening blinds to let the sunshine in can keep things a bit warmer in the winter too.
  • Filters: You’ll want to change your furnace filter every 2 – 3 months to keep your machines running efficiently and improve the quality of air in your home.

But what if your place hasn’t gone all-electric?

Fintech Statistics

With an average annual growth rate of nearly 25%, the financial technology industry is among the fastest-growing worldwide. The latest fintech statistics suggest that the sector should hit a value of almost $310 billion by 2022 if this positive trend…

Average Monthly Electric Bill By State

How average are you when it comes to the amount you pay for electricity each month? A good way to determine this is to study how your average electricity bill compares to other consumers in your state.

Here’s a look at the average 2019 monthly electric bill in every state courtesy of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Alabama: $150.45

Alaska: $127.29

Arizona: $126.09

Arkansas: $109.46

California: $101.92

Colorado: $83.07

Connecticut: $150.71

Delaware: $119.16

Florida: $129.65

Georgia: $131.84

Hawaii: $168.21

Idaho: $93.83

Illinois: $92.37

Indiana: $120.74

Iowa: $108.04

Kansas: $113.26

Kentucky: $120.08

Louisiana: $120.70

Maine: $100.53

Maryland: $127.92

Massachusetts: $125.89

Michigan: $100.23

Minnesota: $99.02

Mississippi: $135.87

Missouri: $117.82

Montana: $95.43

Nebraska: $108.08

Nevada: $106.83

New Hampshire: $120.04

New Jersey: $105.07

New Mexico: $80.04

New York: $103.60

North Carolina: $123.25

North Dakota: $114.27

Ohio: $108.15

Oregon: $100.35

Oklahoma: $113.93

Pennsylvania: $115.47

Rhode Island: $121.62

South Carolina: $144.73

South Dakota: $120.60

Tennessee: $132.33

Texas: $134.07

Utah: $75.63

Vermont: $97.18

Virginia: $135.46

Washington: $94.49

West Virginia: $121.90

Wisconsin: $95.52

Wyoming: $96.53

What impacts the cost of utilities?

These factors can affect the average household utility cost:

Where you live: If you’re in a temperate climate, utilities won’t cost as much because there’s less need for constant heating in winter and air conditioning in summer.

Your use of resources: Your average utilities cost depends on your use of electricity and gas. If you leave the thermostat at 72 degrees in winter, you’ll pay more than you will if you set it at 68 degrees. If you lower the heat when you’re not home, you’ll also pay less.

Installing a smart thermostat in your home is one convenient way to manage your utility usage. Many of these smartphone-controlled devices let you view your weekly or monthly usage history, which gives you a clearer picture of how often your heating and cooling systems are turning on and off. This helps you see opportunities to raise or lower your thermostat at certain times of day – or turn the system off completely – to save money.

How energy efficient your home is: Insulation and windows make a big difference in the average utilities cost in a home. Energy can easily escape if there’s no insulation or properly installed windows to protect that air transfer. Old, single-pane windows can also be drafty and contribute to heat loss.

Size of your home: Heating, cooling and lighting a home that’s 2,500 square feet will cost more than a home that’s 1,400 square feet. It’s also important to consider the home’s layout. For example, spaces with open floor plans generally cost more to heat and cool than homes that are more compartmentalized with separated areas. In these homes, it’s often possible to shut vents or doors when the rooms aren’t in use and don’t require heating or cooling.

Tips for Saving on Your Water Bill

Water consumption can be easily reduced. First and foremost, check for leaks in your bathroom or kitchen and fix them. Leaky faucets aren’t just noisy and annoying. They’re also a waste of water. To address this, replace your showerhead with one that is efficient and, while you’re at it, try to take shorter showers, as well.

Meanwhile, the washer and dishwasher will often have an efficient or eco cycle, which can reduce the amount of water being used. In this way, lower-maintenance clothes and lightly used dishes can be washed at colder temperatures and shorter cycles.

How Big Of A Financial Impact Does The Cost Of Utilities Have On Consumers?

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy said that consumers spent 7% of their annual incomes on energy costs in 2016. Paying for utilities is more of a burden, of course, on consumers with lower incomes. According to the Coalition, households earning the lowest incomes spent 22% of their after-tax income on residential utilities and gasoline. Households in the top income bracket, though, spent just 5% of their annual incomes on these costs.

The Coalition also points out that the average utility cost isn’t decreasing. It’s instead heading in the opposite direction. The Coalition reported that national average electricity rates have increased by 33% from 2005 to 2016. In fact, electric bills are typically the largest utility cost that homeowners face each month.

Cable The Expense You Can Play Around With

Average Cable Bill: $0 – $100 (depending on plan)

Here’s where things get interesting.

Yes, we recognize having cable TV access isn’t a necessity, but it’s definitely a quality-of-life choice that most people find to be well worth the cost.

But don’t worry about not having access to entertainment and information, because there are a plethora of great options for audio/visual content available at many price points.

Digital Antenna:

Digital Antenna:

By far the cheapest option, as long as you’re within range of a local broadcaster, digital antennas allow you to watch a handful of television stations (typically including ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS) for free.

Average Price: $0

Cable Subscription:

Here you’ll see fewer options, depending on where you live, but all companies are required to offer basic cable packages along with additional channels and bundles with internet and phone service.

Average Price: $100/month

Streaming Television:

Recently, many companies have sprung up offering streaming television through the internet, offering customers an alternative to paying whatever their local cable company feels like charging.

Average Price: $25 – $40/month

Dedicated Streaming Services:

And if you’re more into watching things strictly for entertainment, there are plenty of streaming video services that offer a variety of content that appeal to almost every niche from film buffs, to classic television, comedies, and horror.

Average Price: $8 – $15/month (per service)

Median Utility Costs by Type and Age

So, how much the does the average person spend on utilities a month? This is a valid question, but there’s no single answer. The average cost of utilities for one person depends on various factors, age being one of those. In the table below, let’s analyze the mean expenses on different types of house bills among Americans from various age groups.

As you can see above, the mean annual utilities cost among all consumers was $9,215 in 2019. Americans aged 45-54 pay a significantly higher mean amount of $11,211 a year. Those aged 35-44 come in next with yearly mean utility costs of $10,409. Unsurprisingly, those under 25 pay the lowest mean house bills of $5,325 a year.

How Much Does Natural Gas Cost?

CenterPoint Energy says natural gas prices tend to be two to three times lower than electric prices in an area because gas is 90% more efficient, and it takes a lot less energy to extract natural gas from its source than it does to generate electricity. Your bill includes delivery costs and an interim rate adjustment. Season and location are the two main factors for your natural gas bill. Unlike electricity that’s generated nearby, natural gas is shipped in from where it’s extracted and stored. So, the further you live from a distribution point, the more expensive your gas bill will be.

The average cost of natural gas for residential use is $10.45 per thousand cubic feet, or around $63 per month. You can keep these costs to a minimum by keeping your heating system maintained, using a smart thermostat, turning down your water heater and sealing all leaks around windows and doors.

COST OF LIVING IN TEXAS

The cost of living in Texas can be 8% higher than the U.S. average. According to , Texas is on the rank no. 31 in terms of the average utility bill. The average utility bill per month in the state includes:

  • Electricity – $100.91
  • Natural gas – $110.58
  • Internet – $58.29
  • Cable – $100.00
  • Water – $40.00
  • Total – $409.78

Wondering how much are utilities per month in different Texas cities? Here’s a quick utility cost compilation to help you get a better idea:

Note: The costs can vary based on factors like the size of your apartment, the number of people living, the locality you’re in, and the amount of utility usage.

City/Utilities Average Gas Bil, $ Average Electricity Bill, $ Average Internet Bill. $ Average Water Bill, $ Car Gas, $ Total
Houston $110.58 $155.74 $60.33 $27 $164 $517.65
San Antonio $110.58 $160.26 $65.31 $45.64 $150 $531.79
Dallas $110.58 $128.50 $65.24 $41.23 $1505 $495.55
Austin $110.58 $147.04 $66.59 $70.39 $150 $544.6
Fort Worth $105.26 $122 $60 $40.39 $148 $475.65
El Paso $108.72 $124.36 $60 $42 $150 $485.08

The most expensive city in Texas is Austin. When compared to the national average, the monthly bills here cost 21.7% more. You can expect to shell out about $2300 per month to live comfortably in Austin. The cheapest city in Texas, on the other hand, is Amarillo. It has a cost of living index of just 80.1 as compared to the U.S. average of 100. Whether you’re moving to a large apartment or a small apartment, a more expensive city or a comparatively cheaper one – it’s always best to understand the specific costs of your area. This will help you create and execute your budget smartly.

Car Gas Is Also a Utility

There are definitely people out there who would argue against gasoline being a utility. But according to the Small Business Administration, gas is also a utility. It’s not easy to give you an estimate of how much you’d be paying for gas, though, since it mainly depends on the fuel economy of your car and how much you drive. Packing your car to move to Texas will save you some money, but only if the gas price is acceptable. For example, a sports car with a V8 engine would use substantially more fuel than a typical mid-range sedan that the average person drives. You should also expect to pay more for fuel than a sedan or a hatchback if you drive a pickup truck. Hybrid cars are the most economical. One of the most popular cars is the Toyota Prius. If you drive one of those, you are probably one of the people who don’t have to worry about gas very much. We can, however, tell you that Texas has the 4th cheapest gas prices . $2.942 for a regular gallon and $3.258 for a mid-grade gallon.

Virginia Housing Costs

When trying to determine what is the cost of living in Virginia, housing costs will be by far your biggest expense. Compared to the national average, Virginia housing costs are more expensive. The median home cost in Virginia is $258,400. In comparison, the national median home cost is $231,200. 

Naturally, housing costs will vary depending on the city and neighborhood you’re interested in. For instance, Great Falls is one of the most expensive cities in Virginia with a median home value hitting six-figures at $1,212,347. However, Virginia’s capital Richmond has more affordable housing with a median home value of $247,564.

Throughout the state, the median home cost is $258,400. Home appreciation in the state is also up by 4.1%. 

You won’t fare much better if you decide to rent. Compared to the national average, your monthly rent payment will be more expensive in Virginia. For example, the average cost for a studio apartment in Virginia is $982, whereas the national average for a studio apartment is $821. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Virginia is $1,030. The national average for a one-bedroom is $930.

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 nearly obsolete as there are more streaming alternatives available than ever before. The number of cord-cutters 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.

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: $9.99 – $19.99
  • Disney+: $7.99 – $12.99
  • Hulu: $6.99 – $12.99
  • Apple TV+: $4.99 – $19.95
  • HBO Max: $14.99
  • Amazon Prime Video: $9.00
  • Paramount Plus: $4.99 – $9.99
  • Peacock: $4.99 – $9.99
  • Discovery Plus: $4.99 – $6.99

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. 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.
  • Consider your data usage. Look at your data usage trends 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 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.

Tips for Saving on Utilities

  • Turn on electronics only when they are needed and turn them off when they are not
  • Turn off the AC in the summer and turn down the thermostat in winter when no one is home
  • Have an agreement with your roommates to be conservative with utilities or be willing to pay extra

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