What Utilities Do You Pay In An Apartment? Understanding Apartment Utilities

Apartment Utilities

Last Updated on July 30, 2023 By Emma W. Thomas

In an apartment, you typically pay for electricity, water, heating, and cooling. Additional utilities may include internet, cable TV, and gas, depending on the apartment complex and your chosen service providers.

What Utilities Do You Pay In An Apartment?

When apartment hunting, it’s essential to consider not only the rent but also the additional costs associated with living in the space. Utilities are an important aspect to consider as they can significantly impact your monthly budget. Depending on the rental property, utilities may be included in the rent, partially covered, or completely separate. To help you understand what utilities you may need to budget for in an apartment, we’ve compiled a list below:

  1. Electricity: Electric bills typically cover the cost of powering lights, appliances, heating, and cooling systems in your apartment. It’s advisable to find out if the unit has energy-efficient features, as they can help reduce electric consumption and lower costs.
  2. Water and Sewer: Water and sewer bills encompass the cost of clean water supply, as well as the removal and treatment of wastewater. The amount you pay for water and sewer can vary based on usage, the local area’s rates, and whether the bills are shared among tenants or individualized.
  3. Gas: Apartments that have a gas supply may require you to pay for heating, cooking, or water heating using natural gas. Gas bills fluctuate depending on the size of the apartment, usage patterns, and efficiency of gas appliances.
  4. Heating and Cooling: Some apartments provide centralized heating and cooling systems, while others require tenants to install and pay for their own systems. If utilities do not cover the heating and cooling costs, you may need to budget for purchasing or renting heaters, air conditioners, or fans.
  5. Internet and Cable: While not a traditional utility, internet, and cable services have become essential for many people. These costs can vary significantly depending on the service provider, the package you choose, and any bundled options available. Researching different internet and cable plans in the area is key to finding the most suitable and affordable option.
  6. Trash and Recycling: Some apartments include trash and recycling fees in the monthly rent. However, in other cases, tenants may need to contract or pay for private disposal services independently. Make sure to clarify with the property management to determine if this is an additional expense you need to consider.
  7. Pest Control: Apartments in certain locations may require regular pest control services to prevent and manage infestations. While these costs are typically covered by the landlord, it’s essential to clarify this beforehand, as some leases may hold tenants responsible for pest control fees.
  8. Security Systems: Depending on the building’s security measures, you might be required to purchase and maintain a security system for your apartment. This could include devices like cameras, alarms, or access cards. Ensure you understand the security requirements of the building and how these expenses will be allocated.
  9. Other Miscellaneous Expenses: Although not utilities, it’s important to consider additional expenses that may arise while living in an apartment. These may include renter’s insurance, parking fees, pet fees, gym or pool access charges, and any other property-specific amenities or services.

Types Of Utilities And Their Average Cost

Types Of Utilities And Their Average Cost

When touring an apartment, you will discuss the utilities with your landlord or property manager. The cost for these utilities varies depending on the usage, providers, appliances, region, and credit check. It might be challenging to calculate how much you will spend on these bills, but you can always estimate. This section takes you through a breakdown of these utilities, what they entail, and an estimate of how much you are likely to spend.

1. Water Bill

Your water bill will be measured by a meter and will either be billed to your apartment or the apartment community. If the invoice is sent to the apartment community, all the households usually split the bill and pay the amount with their next rent payment.  According to Statista, each household member uses approximately 100 gallons of water. You can estimate how much you will spend on water bills by calculating how much water your family members will use in a month and multiplying this by the cost per gallon. An average family of four will spend $70 a month, but this can go lower if you focus on conserving usage.

2. Sewer And Wastewater Bill

In some states and regions, the sewer bills will be included in the water bill, while in others, you will be required to pay for sewer bills separately. This sewerage charge caters to any wastewater and solid material going down your drain into the sewage company’s sewer. This bill caters to the cost of treating wastewater to make it safe for returning to the environment. Sewer bills vary depending on the region and sewer company in charge. You can always check with your local sewer company to know how much you are expected to pay every month.

3. Electricity 

 The amount you spend on your electricity bills will be determined by your energy usage and the appliances you have. Home appliances such as your fridge, and washing machine add up to your power bills, but cooling and heating systems such as the AC and water heater consume the most power. According to NPR, a house uses an average of $100 on electricity every month if the average consumption is 900 kilowatts. Your bill will vary depending on the number of appliances, the size of the apartment, and the number of people living in your home.

4. Phone, Internet, And Cable 

The cost of internet and phone bills is mainly determined by the plan you choose for your household. When budgeting for your utilities, it is essential to factor in the cost of setting up your WI-FI in the apartment. Shop around and settle for the best option and most economical option for you.

5. Home Security

Every renter wants to live in an apartment where their safety and belongings are guaranteed. The security charge will primarily cater to the maintenance of any security systems and alarm equipment in the unit. The average cost for home security is $ 30 per month, depending on the package. Before signing the lease agreement, consult your landlord to know the price and negotiate. In most apartments, security is catered for by the landlords, and bargaining will help you avoid paying this bill.

6. Trash And Recycling 

This utility bill takes care of waste management and, most times is included in the rent. Your apartment landlord will have a contract with the waste management company in your region to collect the trash. In some apartments, this service will come at a monthly fee, while the landlord will cater for the cost in others.

7. Natural Gas 

Some apartments use natural gas to keep the house warm and power electronics such as ovens and stovetops. If your apartment uses natural gas, you will have a thermal metric that will help you monitor your gas usage. Some months will have heavier usage than others, e.g., winter months use up more terms because of heating the apartment.

Breakdown Of Average Utility Bills By City

When moving to a new city, you might have difficulty estimating how much your utility bills will be. Below is a table showing how much families spend on average on gas, electricity, and water bills each month in different cities. Your costs will vary depending on the consumption and size of your household, but these estimates will help you come up with an approximate budget.

City Average gas billAverage water billAverage electricity bill
Boston, MA$81.67$46.59$135.20
Bridgeport, CT $74.44$35.59$184.97
New Haven, CT$ 66.12$36.59$166.38
Birmingham, AL$45.92$51.46$196.29
Dallas, TX$31.23$60.25$171.52
New York NY$37.73$80.79$ 137.40
Philadelphia, PA$70.93$47.86$142.35
Kansas City, MO$67.30$52.93$157.53
Sacramento, CA$73.31$31.23$128.04
Detroit, MI$88.18$51.14$120.13
San Francisco, CA$56.37$69.59$112.93
Houston, TX$29.96$48.59$166.33
Charleston SC$18.40$47.51$172.77
Austin TX$31.08$47.51$172.77

How To Budget For Utilities

To manage utilities comfortably, you need to come up with a budget and set aside a small amount of your paycheck to cater to these costs. Since the cost of utilities keeps changing each month depending on usage, you will need to estimate the total amount you spend each month.

When setting up utilities in your home, most local providers check your credit history to see your bill payment history. You can also estimate your total cost of utilities by using calculators on their website that estimate your bills according to the size of your home and the number of people in your household. For a first-time renter, utilities can be overwhelming, and it’s always advisable to go for an apartment whose utilities are included in the rent.

Tips On Saving Energy And Utilities By Seasons

Tips On Saving Energy And Utilities By Seasons

The cost of utilities varies significantly by season; when it is summer, and the temperatures are high outside, you will need to keep your AC on to regulate temperatures in your apartment. This can cause the cost of electricity to skyrocket. However, there are some tips you can use every season to save on your utility bills. Let’s have a look:


During summer, your electricity bill will likely be higher from the air conditioning systems running throughout. To cut on these costs, you can use ceiling fans to regulate the temperature instead of turning on the AC. You can also choose to keep the blinds and curtains closed to block unwanted heat and keep your home cool.

You can also take advantage of the heat to dry air clothes instead of using the drier; lowering your water heater’s temperature will also help reduce the amount of electricity you use during summer.


Take advantage of the spring breeze to help keep your electric bill low. Keep your window open when you need to lower room temperatures and turn off the AC. You can also reduce consumption by changing the AC filters regularly.


During winter, your bills will mostly go into keeping the house warm; you can reduce your spending by keeping the thermostat at a low and comfortable temperature or installing insulating shades on drafty windows. Using energy-efficient appliances and LED lights will also reduce the amount of electricity you consume.

FAQs On Apartment Utilities

What Utilities Do Most Apartments Cover?

Most apartments will cover water, sewage, and trash bills, but it is not obvious. Your property management company or landlord will decide what utilities are included in the rent. Before you sign the lease agreement, find out which utilities you need to pay separately and negotiate to the best of your ability.

Is There A Limit On Usage For Utility-Included Apartments?

Yes, most apartments will have a set usage limit, and tenants will be required to pay average fees when the limit is exceeded. The set limit is usually stated in your lease agreement.

Are Landlords Required To Pay For Hot Water?

 In many states, landlords are required to provide access to hot water and heat, but they are not required to cater to these bills. Tenants will cater for the heating bills and water bills in most cases.


Most new renters usually forget to account for utility costs, which can add up really fast. When renting an apartment, you need to budget for your utilities to ensure they don’t overwhelm you. You can also opt to rent an apartment whose utility bills are included in the rent to save yourself the hustle of accounting for them.