You may wonder if there's a big difference between the utility costs of an apartment versus a house. The costs of some utilities, such as gas and electric, tend to fluctuate with the weather and the market price of fuel. Some regions of the country may have more properties that use both gas and electric. The majority of properties in other regions may rely on a single source of power. If you rent an apartment or a house, you may have lower utility costs.
Though this is not always the case, houses tend to be larger than apartments. What this means is that a house contains more square footage to cool in the summer and heat in the winter. As a consequence, your gas and electric bills may be higher for a house than an apartment. The average electricity cost for a one- or two-bedroom apartment is between $60 and $80, depending on the number of residents. The average overall cost Americans pay for electricity is $104 per month, so apartment electricity costs are below average. Gas and electricity use will depend on the number and types of appliances you have. Houses tend to have more rooms, appliances, light fixtures and features that use gas and electricity, including garages.
Apartments may include some of the utility costs in your rent. This could save you some money, especially if your landlord pays your heat. If you own a home, you're responsible for all of the utilities, including trash, water, electricity, gas, cable and internet. A condo or townhouse may have a homeowner's association that covers some of these utilities. You must still pay a separate monthly fee to the association, which in turn pays the utility bill for all of the properties in the association.
The construction of a house may be of higher quality than that of an apartment. A first floor unit in an apartment complex could have poor insulation. If you live in a climate that has cold winters, you'll probably pay more for your heating bill. In most states, houses have multiple floors that allow you to take advantage of different temperatures. For example, basements tend to be cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Owning a home also gives you control over what type of thermostat you have. A programmable thermostat can help you save on your utilities.
You may find it more difficult to estimate the monthly utility costs for a house versus an apartment. If you're thinking of moving into an apartment complex, it's easier to ask current residents or the property manager for average utility costs. Apartment complexes tend to contain similar units, while the features of houses vary widely. The current owner of a house may be more reluctant to reveal actual utility costs, especially if they are high, but you should be able to get this information from the electric company. Features in a home, such as insulated windows and energy-efficient appliances, are some of the clues that can help you estimate utility costs.
Helen Akers specializes in business and technology topics. She has professional experience in business-to-business sales, technical support, and management. Akers holds a Master of Business Administration with a marketing concentration from Devry University's Keller Graduate School of Management and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles.