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House Utilities: What You Need And The Cost

Andrew Dehan4-minute read
August 18, 2021

Unless you’re intentionally living off the grid, you’re going to be responsible for house utilities. Basic amenities like plumbing, water, gas and electricity are essential for most people. On top of that, you may also need internet access for work and/or school, as well as entertainment.

Here we’ll cover the different types of utilities, how much they can cost and ways you can save money. Let’s start with defining them.

What Are Home Utilities?

House utilities are essential to everyday living, as they ensure you’re able to live in a comfortable, working environment. Home utilities can include internet, sewage, electricity, water, natural gas and more.

The overwhelming majority of homes require you to pay for some variety of utilities, no matter if you buy or rent. Setting up your utilities is an important step homeowners and renters need to take when moving into a new house, condo or apartment. You may have multiple utility companies to choose from, depending on the type of utility and your location.

What Are Types Of Home Utilities You’ll Need?

Each home comes with a different set of utilities. For instance, depending on the build of your home, your home could rely on electricity for heat instead of gas. Utilities can be different depending on where you live, too. This is especially true in rural areas, where you may not have as much access to broadband internet or have a hookup to municipal sewage.

Here is a short list of what utilities you can expect to pay for to some degree in most homes:

  • Internet/cable TV
  • Electricity
  • Water/sewage
  • Natural gas

Along with these, you may have to pay extra for removal of trash, recycling and yard waste. Municipalities handle these in different ways, so do some research. The cost for waste removal could be folded into your property taxes, for example.

Average Cost Of Utilities For A House Or Apartment

The cost of utilities varies widely depending on several factors. Your usage, where you live and the size of your property all have an effect on how much your utilities cost. These are especially true of natural gas, electricity and water.

According to the federal government’s ENERGY STAR® program, most utility costs come from heating/cooling and electronics. Let’s talk about how much you can expect to pay for a house, then cover rental situations where utilities are included.

How Much Are Utilities For A House?

How much utilities are for a single-family home varies from home to home and state to state. According to World Population Review, average water costs can range from $72 a month in West Virginia to $6 a month in Florida.

Location plays a huge part in how much you’ll pay. For example, remote Alaska averages a total utility cost of $442 a month – the highest in the nation. The cheapest in the country, New Mexico, averages nearly half that cost, at $239 a month for all utilities. On a yearly basis, Americans pay $2,868 – $5,308 for utilities.

Are There Houses For Rent With Utilities Included?

A lot of rental properties don’t include utilities; however, some include them as extra incentive to rent there. What utilities are covered varies from property to property. For example, the landlord may cover major utilities like heat and water, but not internet. Or Wi-Fi could be included, but you must cover everything else.

Sometimes a landlord will require a monthly check for a set amount to cover utilities, keeping the utilities in their name. This is most likely to occur in scenarios where renters have shorter leases or typically do not stay in the same property long.

Rental properties with utilities included could cost more because the landlord or rental agency may factor utility costs into your monthly rent. Do some research around average utility costs for the area to determine whether a rental property with utilities included is really a bargain.

How To Save Money On Home Utilities

There are plenty of ways to save money on utility bills each month. From being conscientious of your energy usage to investing in efficient appliances, every small saving adds up over time.

Before we get more in-depth, here’s a short list of ways you can save money on utilities:

  • Using solar panels
  • Replacing the water heater if it’s older
  • Using a programmable thermostat to raise/lower the temperature when you’re not home
  • Replacing furnace air filters regularly
  • Unplugging electronics when not in use
  • Making small changes to save water

Saving Money Through Appliances

One of the main utility bills people pay is their electric bill. On average, 13% of a home’s energy costs come from its appliances. When purchasing new appliances, keep an eye out for ENERGY STAR on the label. These products are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to produce 35% less energy than others.

Saving Money Through Windows

If you’re looking to invest in your home and improve its energy-efficiency, look no further than the windows. Old and leaky windows are a huge entry point for cold air in the winter and heat in the summer.

While it’s an investment upfront, having properly installed double-pane windows can save you money over time. Not only will you notice the difference in your utility bills, but energy-efficient windows will cause less strain on your heating/cooling appliances. This means you’ll get more life out of your furnace and air conditioner.

Saving Money Through Lighting

Lighting is something we take for granted. Some days, we use it all day. Turning off lights in rooms when you leave them is a simple step that will cause savings on your electric bill.

Likewise, making a small investment in energy-efficient bulbs will have a positive impact on your utility costs. Not only do these bulbs use less energy, but you don’t have to replace them as frequently. This means fewer trips to the hardware store.

If you’re interested in turning your home into a smart home, look into smart bulbs. These bulbs connect to an app on your phone so you can monitor whether your lights are on or off when you’re not home and turn them off if you need to.

The Bottom Line: Utility Bills Can Be Budget Friendly

Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, chances are high that utility bills are a fact of life. You don’t need to spend a fortune on new windows or solar panels to lower your bills, though. Simple practices to conserve water, electricity and natural resources can have a big effect on how much you pay.

Want some more pointers on being a homeowner? Check out more homeowner tips for house-related topics.

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    Andrew Dehan

    Andrew Dehan is a professional writer who writes about real estate and homeownership. He is also a published poet, musician and nature-lover. He lives in metro Detroit with his wife, daughter and dogs.