Utility Bills 101: Everything You Need to Know
You are planning to relocate to a new home. Knowing how much your utility will cost you before your moving day is one of the essential steps to take, whether you are moving into a rental apartment or a newly purchased apartment.
The process involved is always direct in most communities. It will only take a few days for the service provider to process your request and install the services so you can comfortably settle in your new home.
Your utilities will cost an average of $2,200 per annum. While electricity alone may cost $1,200, one will be wondering where the rest of your money will go. However, there are ways you can reduce your utility cost below average and still enjoy the services.
This article will help you greatly in knowing how much people pay for utilities when they move to another state. Those looking for clarity on how their monthly utilities are being calculated while they remain in their location are also encouraged to keep reading this post.
In this article
What are Utility Bills?
Examples of utilities in a home include internet, cable TV, sewage and trash collection, water, electricity, security systems, gas, and telephone. These are basically essential things you need in your home to stay comfortable. Utility bill means the cost to be paid by a home or an office for their water, gas, or electricity usage per month.
There are many regulations in place by local and federal governments on how much utility companies can make on their customers by monitoring their charges. You have to plan your utility bills along with your monthly budget. If you are planning to a home, you should plan to pay some utilities in your new place.
The Types of Utility Payments you should expect
Your utility bills should be considered and included on the list of items connected to your homeownership, such as taxes, mortgage, and insurance policies. Below are some types of utility you should expect:
Electricity and Gas
Your electricity will provide power, lights, and heating. The price varies depending on your consumption rate. The size of your home will affect your usage as well as the level of electricity and gas required to live comfortably in your home.
Water and Sewer
Nothing should stop running of water and sewer in your house as they are being provided by the public utility commission of your city. All the water used in your household will be covered in the monthly bill. A meter is being used to determine the cost, as well as the amount of water used per month.
Make sure you check the meter size and also figure out your level of water usage to know how much you will be paying monthly before you relocate into a new home.
Trash and recycling
Waste removal is one of the important bills you will need to pay for. Three (3) types of trash cans will be provided for your clean recyclables, garbage, and yard or organic waste. The bill for waste removal is always fixed.
Although this is not as important as public utilities; however, most people pay for utilities like internet connections, cable TV, and telephone lines. You can make arrangements for these utilities with a private service provider, and your needs and want will determine the cost.
Owning and Renting
You will be required to negotiate utilities with your homeowner if you are renting a home. You and your landlord will be paying exactly what is stated in your lease. You might be required to pay for internet connection and electricity, while your landlord might be paying for water and waste removal.
Average Cost of Utilities per Month
Your monthly budget must include utility bills for gas, internet, water, electricity, and cable unless you are living off the grid. The monthly cost of utilities for those living in rental apartments in the United States is usually between $100 – $150 or more.
Homeowners, on the other hand, are to budget about $400 monthly for utilities. Utility bills vary from one state to another just as climate and energy change. You will discuss the average costs for utilities in some typical states later in this post.
Electricity Bills – The cost of keeping the lights and other appliances on
The amount spent on electricity bill per month by an average household is $110.76. If you notice a change in your electricity bill, that’s due to a change in your usage.
Based on The United States Energy Information Administration reported in July 2019, the average price per kilowatt-hour (kWh used for measuring electricity) for United States residential was 13.3 cents.
Electricity price was just 7.73 cents/kWh in the early days of 2001. How does this affect your monthly utility bills? Your place of residence determines your monthly utility bill.
Some states make it affordable, while some don’t. For instance, Louisiana offers the most affordable power, while Hawaii offers the least. It is generally known that charging your mobile phones doesn’t consume much power compared to using electric washing machines.
The table below shows the breakdown of energy used by each appliance as prepared by Silicon Valley Power and the energy based on 11 cents/kWh
Energy use by each appliance
|Energy Consumption||Energy Cost|
|Central air conditioner||3.0 kWh/hour||$0.33/hour|
|Refrigerator (25 cu. ft., Energy Star rated)||60.0 kWh/month||$6.60/month|
|Electric clothes drying machine||2.5–4.0 kWh/load||$0.28–$0.44/load|
|50’’ LCD TV||0.016 kWh/hour||~$0.01/hour|
|Washing machine (hot wash, warm rinse)||6.3 kWh/load||$0.69/load|
|Hairdryer (15mins of use)||0.375 kWh/use||$0.045/use|
|Night light (4 watts on 12 hours daily)||1.44 kWh/month||$0.16/month|
Natural Gas Bill – The cost of keeping the home warm
In the United States, the monthly gas bill costs an average of $72.10, although it varies in some states.
This is the cost when you keep your house warm, your hot water running, and even cook using natural gas.
You may not understand your gas bill while reading them, so let’s discuss the most important acronym which is BTU (British Thermal Unit – a unit of energy).
An average United States household consumed 63 million BTUs of natural gas in 2016, and it costs $661 all through the year.
Be not confused with the numbers as you may end up paying more for gas, depending on your location.
BTUs are not the only factor that determines your bill. Taxes and other items may be included on your gas bill. Contact your local service provider for the breakdown of your bill.
You will definitely be paying more for gas if you reside in South Carolina or Hawaii.
The price for gas is not that much in Utah, Montana, and Idaho. Consider our charts that explain (later in this post) the average utility costs in various states to know where your state falls in price.
Water Bill – The cost of water supply
Water bills alone take $70.39 monthly from the average American household. 300 gallons of water are being used by the average American household, as estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The level of water can be enough to fill a tub that is capable of containing six (6) persons.
Are you wondering how much it will cost to fill this hot tub we mentioned? It could cost you over $50 each month based on your location, as stated by the nonprofit organization.
The price of water is also not stable and is increasing. Between 2010 and 2015, the price of water rose with 41%, while that of sewer rose even more within those years.
Although, since 2015, the rate of increase has dropped; however, prices keep appreciating.
Trash and Recycling Bill – The cost of removing trash
About 4.4 pounds of trash is being generated by Americans daily, which means your garbage bill on the average is between $8 and $12 monthly, and they will pick it up from your house.
Between $3 and $5 are being charged monthly on Americans that have recycling trash. This means recycling only shows up in your garbage bill if you have curbside recycling, for example.
You may sometimes find sewer, water, and trash in a single bill with just a monthly fee.
Internet and Cable TV Bill – The cost of mobile web
There is no charge on Television in the good old days. You only plug your TV cable to the power source, and you are all set.
Cable prices today are everywhere, and most of them are not managed or monitored by the FCC.
You will be paying an average of $85 monthly for full subscriptions but will be watching free basic channels when using a digital antenna.
Your type of connection and speed will determine the cost of your monthly internet subscription. You will be paying over $150 monthly for super-fast internet connections, while a slower connection will cost as low as $10 monthly.
The cost of an average internet bill is about $60/month.
Mobile Phone – The cost of staying connected
About 96% of adults in America own a mobile phone, as reported by Pew Research Center. Although the major cellphone service provider always changes its prices for competition’s sake.
You can still be expecting to pay around $120 monthly to $240 for a four-person family.
How to save Costs on your Utility Bills?
Most people at this age are looking for ways to cut down on their electricity bills. We can always manipulate the temperature in our homes to achieve the desired result even though some areas are known to be cooler in summer and warmer in winters. All these may end up disappointing you, so make sure you follow some basic tips to lower your electricity bill instead.
How to save cost on your home’s heating or cooling?
Monitoring your thermostat is the major tip that stands out on the list of tips suggested by the United States Department of Energy on saving energy and money.
Below are tips to save the cost of heating or cooling your home:
- Get a smart thermostat: You can save up to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling when you upgrade from your old thermostat to a smart thermostat. As you frequently use this smart thermostat, it will adapt to your preferred temperature settings and will adjust its settings to suit your preference without costing you much money or energy even when you are not at home.
- Use extra insulators in your home: The cold outside your home during winter can affect the temperature of your home’s interior. Although there are many causes for this, the major cause is poor insulation. Insulation helps protect your home from harsh temperatures, giving you heat during winter and cold temperatures during summer. It also helps in saving energy and money due to its capability.
- Reduce the temperature on the water heater: You will be cutting your electricity bill by reducing the temperature on your water heater to a certain degree. The normal temperature required for water heaters is 120 degrees Fahrenheit; however, you can turn off the heater while you are away for vacation.
How to save cost on your average electric bill?
To reduce your electricity bill, make sure you are using energy-saving light-bulbs, and also remember always to unplug unused electronics.
You can save up to $75 per annum when you replace your old incandescent light-bulbs with energy-saving light-bulbs and over $100 per annum when you unplug your unused electronics and appliances.
Another option to save energy and money is Solar panels. You can check Project Sunroof tool by Google to know how much you will be saving by going Solar.
Locate solar companies in your location by using a website such as Solar Power Authority and also compare the prices offered by the solar companies by local solar installers.
Replacing your water heater is also a great tip to save money on your electricity bill. The majority of these water heaters require electricity or gas flame to work.
Using an electric water heater generally costs more compared with a gas-powered heater. This will greatly increase your electricity bill.
Replace your electric water heater with the gas-powered option to reduce your monthly electricity bills.
How to save costs on your gas bill?
We have compiled great tips for saving on gas bills as we noticed most people are not ready to relocate to Idaho due to the gas bill there. Replacing your furnace air filter and performing yearly maintenance of the furnace are both the best ways to reduce your gas bill, aside from the recommended usage of a smart thermostat.
Difficult passage of air through your furnace due to dirty filter can cause it a lot of pressure, which might lead to more hard work to supply heat to your home.
Major components of the furnace may also malfunction or work inefficiently if there is no proper annual maintenance.
In summary, the rate at which your furnace works will determine your monthly gas bill.
How to save cost on your water bill?
You only need to reduce your water usage to reduce the ever-increasing water costs. Take note of each time you use water in your daily activities.
Although you cannot reduce the water you drink, you can figure out if you can reduce the water you use for other purposes and still get the same result.
You can reduce your water usage when brushing your teeth by turning off your faucet.
About 4 gallons of water are wasted each time you leave your faucet running while brushing your teeth according to a commercial from Colgate.
You can also reduce the time you spent in the shower to save water. The average water used in shower in the United States is over 17 gallons per shower, which lasts for about 8 minutes.
Reducing the time you spent in the shower will cause a reduction in your water usage. The key here is – “no wastage of water in the household.”
How to save cost on your internet and cable bill?
Both the internet and cable can be packaged into a single bill so that you can save money on the two utilities.
Contact the nearest service provider to see if there is any available promotion if you don’t want to bundle the utilities together.
Regardless of the TV service you choose, there are always varieties of plans available with them. Check and compare them to see which of them provides cable and internet services that match your needs and budget.
For example, if you are not a sport lover, premium sport package is not necessary. You can opt for a lower cable package plan.
How to save cost on your garbage bill?
Creating less garbage is the best way to reduce the cost of your garbage bill. There are private and city collection companies that charge per bag, meaning that the higher the bags you use, the higher you pay.
Make sure you get the best deal if you decide to opt for a private collection company for your trash. Compare prices from different garbage collectors to be sure you are getting the best deal.
Another tip is to avoid piling up your trash, as this can result to high bill.
|From Highest||From Lowest|
Top 7 Ways to Save Energy and Reduce your Utility Bill
Energy consumption is unavoidable, but you can actually save some energy to trim down your utility bills.
It is worthy of note that you do not only save on utility bills but also contribute positively to the economy by protecting the environment.
There are practical ways to cut down your household’s energy usage and save money, and they as highlighted below:
1. Switch to energy-saving light bulbs
Start reducing your energy consumption from your lighting bulbs. Conventional incandescent bulbs are studied to consume excessive energy and switching to energy-saving bulbs would save you up to 80% off your costs of lighting.
Energy-saving led bulbs consume less power and also have a longer lifespan compared to traditional light bulbs.
Although energy saving light bulbs cost more off the shelf, it pays later considering their long life spans and reduced cost of energy bills.
2. Switch off lights and electrical appliances when dormant
Many apartment dwellers can pay 40% less their utility bills if they can be disciplined enough to turn off electrical appliances and lights when they don’t use them.
Yes, you can save some bucks by switching off your cooling unit, heaters, lightings, and household appliances from power-point whenever they are out of use.
Many people think that once they turn off their appliances from the remote controls, no energy is consumed – this is not true. Always ensure that they are switched off from the power-point.
Computer and some other accessories such as wifi router, printers are idle when you are away or overnight; switch them off before going to bed or travel.
3. Insulate your home
Studies have shown that much energy is consumed during winter through heating in a bid to warm the home; thereby, jack up the heating cost. One of the solutions to this problem is insulation.
Insulating your home plays a vital role in saving energy and reducing your overall utility bills expended on retaining heat in the home during the winter.
There are many ways to insulate your home and reduce your heating bills as much as possible. You can read our post on “Cheapest to Insulate you Apartment Window for Winter.”
4. Shut doors and close curtains
Most times, the costs of heating and cooling are usually more than the costs of lighting the home, and there are some simple ways to cut down your heating costs and still maintain your comfortable life.
The best ways are to ensure that you keep warm air inside the home and shut out the cold air during winter and vice versa during summer.
Always ensure constant closure of your doors you are not using and close the curtains to keep the warm air inside the house.
By doing this, the frequency of heating home will reduce drastically, and you only need to heat the rooms required to be heated.
5. Conserve energy in the kitchen
The kitchen is one of the significant places in the home that huge energy is consumed. For example, you can’t do without your refrigerator, as some household fridges run 24 hours daily; hence, it is one of the appliances that are expensive to run.
Ensure firmly closure of your fridge door always to prevent escape of cold air that may overwork your fridge thermostat.
The microwave is another appliance that consumes energy in the kitchen. You can save energy on use of microwave by removing frozen food from the freezer and put it in the fridge in the morning to reduce the cooking time in the microwave.
Prevent the use of electric oven as much as you can; you can use a microwave instead.
6. Upgrade your HVAC system
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system is a complete unit that comforts you in the home. Heating alone consumes over 4 percent of overall energy consumption in the home due to weather conditions in some seasons of the year.
However, based on your unit certification, you can save energy by upgrading to the U.S South ENERGY STAR certification to conserve up to 12 percent on your heating bill.
On the other hand, air conditioning does not consume energy like heating but upgrading to a more energy saving unit is a good idea.
Ventilation on its side must be properly insulated or sealed to prevent loss of heat or cold in operation; thereby reduce the energy bill by 20%.
7. Insulate your roof and window
Research has shown that an insulated ceiling and window can make a significant difference on your energy costs, saving up to more than 20% of heating and cooling bills.
You can insulate your roof by invest in the ceiling that retains heat or cold without letting any energy escape the space. You can as well insulate your window by adopting any techniques as contained in one of our posts.
The following table displays the best ways to save energy and reduce your utility bill:
|No.||Ways to Save Energy and Reduce your Utility Bill|
|1||Switch to energy-saving light bulbs|
|2||Switch off lights and electrical appliances when dormant|
|3||Insulate your home|
|4||Shut doors and close curtains|
|5||Conserve energy in the kitchen|
|6||Upgrade your HVAC system|
|7||Insulate your roof and window|
Frequently Asked Questions
The best way to organize the process is to make a list of all the utility bills you currently pay each month. Go down the list and see whether any of those companies service the address where you are moving.
If a company serves your new address, you can call them to transfer your account on a specific date. Depending on the utility, some installation work may be necessary at your new address, but the company can seamlessly switch your account.
Other accounts should be terminated on the date you are moving out. Then you can identify the providers of those services at your new address, and sign up with them for the date you are moving.
When you are signing up for a utility account with electricity, gas, water, or other providers, they require specific information and documents. That includes your name, address, phone number, social security number, and move-in date.
Most utility companies conduct a soft credit check to determine if you are in good standing with your payments. If they are satisfied with your score, your new account is opened on the spot.
If your credit score is too low, or you do not have a score, you are asked to make a deposit for each utility account you wish to open.
One of the most effective ways to save money on your monthly internet bill is to buy a router and modem independently. While the upfront cost is more significant, you will save money if you are planning to stay at your new address for more than a year.
When creating your new internet account, or transferring an existing service, uncheck the option to have a modem and router provided by the company. That should save you anywhere from $10 to $20 each month.
There are many situations where the outright cancellation of a utility account is not the best solution. Say you are living with roommates who are remaining at your present apartment or home.
Rather than cancelling your account, you can transfer it to another person. Complete the process by calling the utility company – and remember to keep personal information about yourself and your roommate at hand.
Provided they pass the company’s soft credit check, you can transfer the account into their name for a specific date.
Cooling a home is a significant portion of your electricity bill each month, especially when the weather gets hotter.
Window AC units or split systems are more cost-effective if you wish to cool one or two rooms in a home.
If you wish to keep an entire home cool throughout the spring, summer, and autumn months, an HVAC system is a more affordable solution in the long run.
The best way to prevent overcharging when you are moving to a new address is to do a final meter reading before you vacate the apartment or house.
Check your gas, electric, and water meters and jot down the readings. Match them up with the bill you receive for the corresponding dates to ensure you are not overcharged for these utilities after you have moved.
The widely known and most straightforward method of reducing cost on utilities is by cutting the cord. There is always a way to save on your utilities regardless of how ridiculously low or higher the cost is. Check your home for usage as well as habits to know if there are ways to save some money on your utility bill. However, this post had exposed you to typical utilities and how to save cost on them.