How Much Do Utilities Cost in an Average Apartment?

How Much Should You Expect Your Electric Bill to Cost?

The first and most intuitive thing you think about when someone mentions bills is probably electricity. While you would not find the highest average utility costs in Texas, the electricity bill in Texas is higher than the overall US average . Hiring long-distance movers to move to Texas means taking this increased energy cost into account. According to the United States Energy Information Administration, the average electric bill in the United States is $117.65 . Not too bad. In Texas, however, you can expect to pay somewhere around $140. You must be wondering why it’s so much higher than the average by now. That’s because of the winter storm that hit Texas in February earlier this year. Texas actually hit the electricity bill price cap in that storm. Usually, the price cap would be hit during the summer months. Don’t worry, though; we will list you some clever and interesting ways that could help you cut down on your electricity usage.

Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

Most people would think that light bulbs are too small to make any difference when the bill comes knocking. Lighting your home actually costs 20% of the overall electricity bill, which costs homeowners around $200 annually on average. If you make a choice to swap out your old incandescent light bulbs (those are the old yellow ones) with newer, more energy-efficient light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs), you can expect to save around 80% of the electricity used to light up your house.

Unplug Any Devices You Are Not Using

How much would unplugging appliances save you? The United States Department of Energy says that homeowners can save anywhere between $100 and $200 each year by unplugging unused appliances.

Here’s the average cost of electricity you can expect to pay when living in Texas:

  • The average monthly electricity cost of a 1-bedroom apartment is $84.46
  • The average monthly electricity cost of a 2-bedroom apartment is $119.38
  • The average monthly electricity cost of a 3-bedroom apartment is $153.93
  • The average monthly electricity cost of a 4-bedroom apartment is $191.59

The two main culprits behind a hefty electric bill include:

  • The Apartment Size: The equation here is simple. The bigger your apartment, the more power your electric appliances will draw to heat or cool a large space. The area includes the ceiling height and the overall floor space.
  • The Number of People: Whether you’re a family of 4 or a single individual living with roommates – the cost of electricity would go up with the number of people using it.
  • Wondering what are the major energy drainers and how you can cut back on them? Here’s a quick list to get you started:

  • Lightening: In an average American household, the lighting itself contributes to 10% of the electricity usage. Investing in LED light bulbs that are energy-efficient, and using the light only when you need can help lower your electricity costs.
  • Water heater: It is the reason for 14% of your apartment’s electricity usage. While most water heaters are set at 140℉, you can bring it down to 120℉ to bring down the costs.
  • Space Heater or Air Conditioner: Combine these two appliances, and you’ll see they contribute to more than 32% of your apartment’s electricity usage. By making the simple change of using these appliances less, you can have big savings at the end of the month.
  • Energy Providers: It’s best to research, track, and manage your cost when moving to a new place. That said, you could save up to 40% a month by choosing the right energy provider. Make sure you compare the prices and services before settling on a service provider.

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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

Tips to Save Money on your Gas Bill

Optimize Your Thermostat

If its possible, see if you can have a smart thermostat installed. Although you’ll incur an initial cost here buying a new thermostat, these intelligent thermostats use everything from the projected weather report, to your personal preferences on comfort and even when you’ll be away at work to optimize temperature settings throughout the day.

Can’t install a smart thermostat in your apartment? You still have options without upgrading your thermostat. According to Energy.gov estimates, lowering your temperature by 7-10 degrees for ONLY 8 hours a day can save residents 10% or more on your gas bill yearly.

Similarly, setting and leaving your thermostat at 68 degrees during the summer and winter can offer a perfect blend of cost savings on your gas bill and moderate comfort no matter the season.

Turn Down the Heat on the Water Heater

Did you know that the hot water heater accounts for up to 16% of energy costs in an apartment? If you have access, see if you can turn it down, this is a good way to save on your gas bill. Most hot water heaters are set too hot anyway.

You want to find a temperature that is hot enough to be comfortable but not scalding. As a general rule, 120-degrees Fahrenheit is a good starting temperature to test. And don’t worry about your dishwasher. It has its own internal heating element to heat up water when needed.

How Much is the Average Electricity Bill?

No matter where you live, at least part of your apartment will be powered by electric, making it one of the most necessary, as well as expensive, energy bills.

Presuming you are renting a 1-bedroom apartment, with no electric powered heat or cooling, you can expect to pay an average of $30-$50/month.

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.

Ways to cut energy costs

There are a number of steps you can take to reduce energy usage and your utility bills:

  • Turn off and unplug – While this change might seem minor, standby power accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of residential energy usage, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Turning off appliances regularly could save you up to $100 per year.
  • Install ceiling fans – Ceiling fans promote circulation, so you might be able to get away with a higher thermostat setting, which lowers costs.
  • Upgrade to more efficient appliances – Products with the Energy Star label meet government efficiency standards, and sometimes more so. Energy Star refrigerators, for example, are at least 15 percent more efficient than the minimum efficiency criteria. In short, these types of appliances use less energy and can help you save money.
  • Switch to LEDs – Residential LED lighting uses at least 75 percent less energy, according to the DOE, and lasts longer compared to incandescent lighting. The result: an average annual savings of about $225. Pair the LEDs with timers and dimmers to really maximize these savings.
  • Install solar panels – Solar panels produce energy from the sun, a free power source. The cost to install solar panels isn’t cheap, however, but the expense tends to pay off in the long run. You can estimate your potential savings using this tool.
  • Use smart meters – Smart meters are devices attached to appliances that track their energy usage, sending readings directly to the utility provider. If the smart meter shows a spike in usage, you can take steps like using less power or water to reduce consumption.
  • Request an energy audit – A home energy auditor can identify where your home is losing energy. If you make the energy upgrades recommended by the auditor, you could save between 5 percent to 30 percent on your bills, according to the DOE.

Taxes

Taxes in Virginia aren’t so outrageous compared to the rest of the nation. The sales tax rate for Virginia is 5.6% compared to the national average of 7.3%. Property taxes in Virginia also fall below the national average. Virginia’s average property tax rate is 0.80% compared to the U.S. average of 1.07%. 

Keep in mind, your property tax rate will vary depending on which Virginia county you reside in. Property taxes throughout the state range anywhere from 0.42% to 1.37%. And even though Virginia’s tax rate is lower, because the state’s home values are higher, you can expect to pay property taxes more on par with the nation’s average. 

The Virginia income tax rate is progressive. This means depending on your annual income, you may have a Virginia income tax rate as low as 2%. For anyone earning a taxable income above $17,000, your Virginia income tax rate will be 5.75%.

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.

Swap in smart power strips

Phantom power—which is the amount of electricity your devices suck up when they’re plugged in but not in use—is a waste of energy that can account for as much as 5% to 10% of your total electricity bill. Yikes!

While you could just unplug every single device when you’re not using it, an easier (and more realistic) approach is to plug your devices into smart power strips. Unlike traditional power strips, a smart strip will cut off the electric current to devices when they aren’t in use instead of allowing them to leak phantom energy. And at just $15 to $30 per strip, it’s a small investment that can pay off in a big way.

Turn down the thermostat when you go to bed

“The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be,” says the U.S. Department of Energy. Their suggestion: turn your thermostat down 7 to 8 degrees from its normal temperature for eight hours a day—a small change that can save you up to 10% on your yearly electricity bill.

To make it easy, just turn your thermostat down when you turn in for the night. An extra blanket will keep you comfortable (or a fan, if it’s hot out) and you won’t even notice the difference.

Sewer- The Cost of Sanitation

Average Sewer Bill – $14.04 – $135.57/month

Dealing with the stench emanating from the sewer systems may not be everyone’s idea of a preferred job, but someone has to do it, and they have to be paid.

According to the non-profit organization Circle of Blue, there are two main reasons why the sewer bill is likely to be higher than your water bill. 

The first is that the treatment of sewer gobbles more energy than the treatment of water. 

Secondly, building sewer treatment infrastructure is more expensive now than it was in the past as local authorities have to meet more stringent environmental regulations.    

According to the Water and Waste Digest, the average sewer bill can be as low $14.04 in Memphis and go as high as $135.57 in Seattle.  

Even though different cities calculate their sewer bills differently, in most cases, the bill is based on the average water use of a household because sewer water is not metered like a water system.

To get an idea of how your sewer bill is arrived at, you may want to check the method used by your local authority. 

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.

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?

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