Apartment Living BlogApartment Living › Apartment Utility Breakdown: What Apartment Life Costs

When hunting for a new apartment, you probably have your monthly budget in mind of what you can spend on rent. But there’s more to your monthly apartment costs than what you write on your rent check.

Utility costs can add up in a significant way, and unless you are renting an apartment with utilities included, you should estimate your utility costs and set your monthly budget appropriately so that you don’t get in over your head.

Keep in mind that your utility costs will vary based on a range of factors, such as how many gadgets you have, the weather, your building’s insulation, your personal habits, and more. However, baseline costs can help you begin making your personal spending predictions. Here are some averages to help you build your monthly budget.

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Utility Costs by Fuel Source

Electricity is a standard utility for keeping the lights on and the phone charged. It’s one of the essentials. And so, this should be the first additional rental cost that you consider. The good news is that electricity costs — though on the rise — are still relatively low in most areas. Within the U.S., the average monthly electricity bill for apartments is $70.

But not everything in your apartment may be powered by electricity. The average monthly natural gas bill is $50, and the average monthly fuel oil bill is $81. So when hunting for that perfect new apartment, consider the fuel sources that will supply other apartment utilities like heat.

Apartment Size Affects Utility Costs

The general rule of thumb is that the larger your apartment is, the more utilities you will use. Whether it’s more square footage to heat or more residents using power, you’ll typically have a higher utility bill if you rent a bigger apartment.

Electricity
Studio, 1 resident: $55/mo
One-bedroom, 1 resident: $60/mo
One bedroom, 2 residents: $66/mo
Two-bedroom, 2 residents: $76/mo
Three-bedroom, 2 residents: $87/mo
Three-bedroom, 3 residents: $93/mo

Natural Gas
Studio, 1 resident: $45/mo
One-bedroom, 1 resident: $47/mo
One bedroom, 2 residents: $51/mo
Two-bedroom, 2 residents: $56/mo
Three-bedroom, 2 residents: $60/mo
Three-bedroom, 3 residents: $65/mo

What Utility Types Are Common in Apartments?

Are you wondering how the utility types that you’re encountering in your apartment search are stacking up to the other apartments out there? We’ve compiled the information on what fuel sources are most common for each end use function.

For heat, 46% of U.S. apartments use electricity, 40% use natural gas, 4% use fuel oil, and 10% use another type of fuel source.

For hot water, electricity also takes the largest share. Water heaters are fueled by electricity in 49% of U.S. apartments, 47% use natural gas, 2% use fuel oil, and 3% use another fuel source.

For cooking, 64% of apartments use an electric oven/stove, 31% use natural gas, and 5% use another fuel source.

Air conditioners in apartments, whether wall units or central air, are mostly fueled by electricity. Only 16% of apartments use a fuel source other than electricity or do not report having air conditioning.

Outdoor grills that use propane are only found in 9% of apartments. The other 91% do not report outdoor grills or use another fuel source.

Geographical Impact on Utility Costs

The average utility cost in the U.S. is $1,290, but the geographic region that you live has a significant impact on how much you’ll spend on your utilities. The cost breakouts below estimate end-use utility costs by region.

Northeast// Total: $1,813
Heat: $780
Water heating: $259
Air Conditioning: $79
Refrigerator: $168
Other: $562

South// Total: $1,203
Heat: $279
Water heating: $221
Air Conditioning: $193
Refrigerator: $106
Other: $428

Midwest// Total: $1,236
Heat: $501
Water heating: $182
Air Conditioning: $47
Refrigerator: $108
Other: $423

West// Total: $838
Heat: $222
Water heating: $158
Air Conditioning: $113
Refrigerator: $95
Other: $353

State by State Utility Costs

Yet even within the geographic regions, average utility costs by state have a wide variety. From the highest utility bills to the lowest, see how your state stacks up:

1. Connecticut
2. Alaska
3. Rhode Island
4. Massachusetts
5. Wyoming
6. Georgia
7. Maine
8. Mississippi
9. New Hampshire
10. Vermont
11. Alabama
12. Delaware
13. Maryland
14. North Dakota
15. Indiana
16. West Virginia
17. Nevada
18. Missouri
19. Oklahoma
20. Pennsylvania
21. New York
22. Texas
23. New Jersey
24. South Carolina
25. Tennessee
26. Utah
27. North Carolina
28. Kansas
29. Ohio
30. Virginia
31. Minnesota
32. Kentucky
33. Michigan
34. Idaho
35. Florida
36. Arkansas
37. Hawaii
38. Montana
39. South Dakota
40. Wisconsin
41. Louisiana
42. California
43. Arizona
44. New Mexico
45. Nebraska
46. Iowa
47. Illinois
48. Oregon
49. Colorado
50. Washington
51. District of Columbia

Want more information about apartment utilities? Check out this Ultimate Checklist For Setting Up Utilities in Your Apartment and follow the ForRent.com blog for more tips on apartment living.

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Amber is the Director of Content Marketing for ForRent.com and has been with the company since April 2007. In her role, Amber strategizes, executes and optimizes a content and social media plans across multiple channels and platforms. This includes blogs, social networks, video sharing sites, and other conversational media. She spends a great deal of time building relationships with consumers, social media influencers, and bloggers to generate awareness of the ForRent.com brands. In her free time, Amber loves running, #hashtags, and DIY projects.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much. This really helps my expectations on a new apartment.
  2. I appreciate your article! I’m in the process of moving to a new place and I’m thinking of the new expenses and whether I can even afford it. Im thinking of what I’ll be scaling back from. Its the ending that got me, when I realize if I can’t live there without breaking the bank to enjoy ALL of it…..why would I live there?

    ……also thank you for the cost break downs, they were realistic and what I needed!

  3. What about water and garbage? How much do those cost?
  4. Thank you for touching base on the renters insurance.  I am a landlord and try to explain the importance of this to my tenants as yes, I have seen far too many times when something happens that leaves the tenant without their personal property and even having to pay for other damages to the apartment when this in-expensive insurance can cover so much.  In one example, a space heater used by a tenant sparked somehow and caught a rug on fire, completely burning the whole 3rd floor of the apartment to include everything she owned.  Not only was she out all her belongings, but had to pay for the damages to the apartment because it was her heater.    In another example, a boyfriend of a different tenant got drunk and went on a rampage, destroyed her TV, computer, etc… and then broke windows and kicked in the door…. renters insurance paid for it all.   … So helpful…

    • Wow! Those are both horrible situations – we never want our renters to experience that. Renters Insurance is just the best way to go so you don’t have to worry!

  5. Frances Leverenz says:
    What percentage of the rent should I budget for utilities? I am an asset manager and looking to see if some of the landlords are charging too much in overall utilities when they are not able to increase rents. I am conducting this exercise for the median income or lower and only need numbers for the basics – water/sewer/electric and gas. Does someone have this information?

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