Studio apartments provide convenient and easy living situations for individuals who don’t require too much space or those who do not spend too much time at home. You know for certain the exact amount you are supposed to pay for rent, but when it comes to the utilities, the cost usually varies. Studio apartments tend to have more affordable utility costs, but how much do you actually save?
How much do utilities cost for an average studio apartment? The total cost of utilities (such as electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage) you can expect to pay from $100 to $150. If you would like to pay for cable and/or internet, add $65 to $150, depending on the services you choose.
You might expect to pay significantly lower for utilities living in a studio apartment, but this is not necessarily the case.
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Utilities cost considerations
Looking at the price without taking into consideration the rate of consumption is not enough because they go hand in hand. Your utility bills may be reasonably priced, but if your consumption rates are high, the bills will increase as well. For example, Louisiana has the lowest electricity price in the US, but the consumption levels are the highest.
Areas situated at high latitudes receive less sunlight than places that are at low latitudes. The use of utilities such as air conditioning, therefore, varies in these areas. Living in a typically hot state such as Texas means that your air conditioning bill will be inevitably higher in the summer than that of someone who lives in a cool city like Portland.
3. Size of apartment
Of course, living in a smaller apartment such as a studio means that you are more likely to spend less on utilities.
4. Age of apartment building
Houses that are older more often than not have higher utility bills. This is because they are less likely to be well insulated, and they also tend to be draftier. This directly translates to higher heating bills as compared to living in a new apartment building. The plumbing costs of old buildings are also higher, especially if the pipes are outdated. Old pipes are prone to leaking, resulting in you unwittingly wasting water, and consequently higher water bills.
According to December 2018 data, residents of Louisiana and Arkansas paid the lowest electricity rates out of all the US states, parting with an average of 9.01 cents per kWh. Hawaii residents paid the highest rates on average, parting with 34.43 cents per kWh.
Utility bills vary from one city to another as well. For example, the average utility bill for an apartment regardless of size in Dallas is $139.29, while in Philadelphia it is $150.06.
With all these considerations in mind, read on to find out how far utilities will set you back financially if you live in a standard studio apartment (500-600 square feet)
Studio apartment utilities and their costs
1. Air conditioning
Air conditioning units are usually the biggest contributors to electricity bills. Most residents in the US only use air conditioning for about three to five months in a whole year. In the US, the cost of running an air conditioning system costs about $280 per year on average.
The type of air conditioning used also plays a role in high your electricity bill will be at the end of the month. If you get to have a pick, you will find that air conditioning will either come from a central air unit (forced air), or a window unit, both of which require electricity to run. Air conditioning for a studio apartment will cost you about $30-$40 per month if you are using a central forced air unit during the summer.
Air conditioning units that generate a lot of noise and blow a lot of air during use such as window and wall units tend to use up relatively more electricity, consequently increasing your bill.
Living in some places such as Minnesota or Maine means that you use air conditioning less often even during hot months, hence you don’t have to worry too much about electric bill hikes. You might expect to save on air conditioning because you live in an area where energy prices are low, but if the summers are especially hot, you will find yourself using the air conditioning more often. The increase in consumption, regardless of whether you live in a studio apartment, will automatically result in higher electric bills.
Some apartment buildings have radiator heating that caters to the whole complex. If your studio is situated in one of these, then you probably don’t have to worry about paying for heating because in most cases, this is factored in your rent.
On the other hand, living in a unit that utilizes forced-air heating that is sourced from a hot water boiler or an electric furnace means that you will have to account for heating separately. If you live in a typically cold state like Alaska, you will notice that a big fraction of your electric bill pays for heating, especially during the winter.
Since studio apartments are small, not too much heat is required to bring up the temperatures so your bill will be lower than average. On average, heating your studio space during winter will account for about $50 of your electric bill per month, but this will depend on how low the temperatures are outside, as well as the level of insulation in your apartment.
Natural gas is another heating option that is used to keep the hot water running during winter, although it is not commonly used for studio apartments. Gas is considered to be more efficient, although you probably won’t save too much. It will still cost you about $50 during winter.
Water may be included in the rent, but this is not always the case. Although estimates vary, an average person uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day, with the largest household use going to flushing the toilet and taking baths and showers.
A two bedroom apartment, just like a studio space, will probably have one bathroom sink, one kitchen sink, and one shower, so the amount of water being used on a daily basis doesn’t vary as much. Handwashing dishes instead of using a dishwasher uses up more water, and taking long showers means that you will likely have a high water bill. On average, the water bill will set you back $40 if you live alone.
Other than cooling and heating, there are other factors that contribute to the electric bill such as electronic appliances and lighting costs. The number of occupants in an apartment greatly impact the electric bill, so if you live with your significant other, it automatically means more appliances are in use and a higher electric bill.
The electric bill for a normal size apartment is about $65 per month on average
A studio apartment has relatively fewer lights and smaller appliances, and probably just one television set, which means that the bill will be considerably cheaper.
Most apartment renters consider internet connection as essential, and it is therefore included with utilities. Before you settle on a particular internet service plan, think about how you use your internet and the number of devices that will be connected. If all you do is use social media and occasionally browse the web, then opt to use a cheaper plan since sped won’t matter too much.
The average you will pay for internet connection in a studio apartment is about $45, but you could always split the cost with anyone that is using your connection, like your roommate or your immediate neighbor. Furthermore, you could always bundle your internet with cable for a good deal.
Cable is not a necessary expense, especially when you consider cheaper options such as streaming services. With the introduction of high-definition television sets that have digital antennae, you can effortlessly get great reception on network TV, and for the rest of your entertainment needs, you have the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Now to choose from. If you subscribe to two of these services, it will only cost you about $20 a month.
If you are adamant on getting cable, make an effort of looking for a good deal that will save you some money. Be wary of the add-ons that some companies usually have, like free Cinemax for three months, which will then be charged to your account the instant the initial deal expires. Closely monitor your account to keep up with all the charges.
By bundling up your cable and internet, you could get a good introductory deal of $90 for a month. However, you could always opt to use a streaming service or two, a more affordable option.
7. Cooking gas
Expect to be charged for natural gas if your oven or stove uses a gas range instead of an electric. Most people prefer to use gas appliances since they are significantly cheaper than electric ones. The cost of cooking entirely depends on how frequently you cook at home and is usually quite manageable-$15 per month at most.
8. Garbage collection and sewer services
The cost of collecting garbage and sewer services is usually included in your rent. If it is charged separately, the amount you are expected to pay should not be higher than $20 per month.
How can you save on your utility bills?
- Open windows whenever possible – The cost of running an air conditioner adds up very quickly, so be wary of using it. In some cases, you don’t really need to use air conditioning, and all you might need to do is to crack open a window or two to reduce unbearable indoor temperatures.
- Use fans instead of air conditioning – Since a studio apartment is relatively small, you can opt to use a table fan instead of air conditioning to regulate the heat in your apartment. Ceiling fans are also very efficient in cooling down high temperatures. Using these alternatives will definitely save you a coin.
- Use less water – There are simple ways in which you can cut down on your water use. Instead of letting the water run as you brush your teeth, turn off the faucet. Other ways you can cut back on water usage is by opting to use low-flow shower heads and faucets that are water-efficient and using a dishwasher instead of hand washing dishes. You could also simply cut back on the amount of time it takes for you to shower, or take quick showers instead of long baths.
- Unplug electronics – The simple act of consistently unplugging your electronics and appliances when they are not in use could save you some money when it comes to paying for electric bills. This is because these devices draw energy even when they are in standby or idle mode. Even turning off some appliances don’t stop them from drawing power. The best solution is to unplug them.
- Invest in energy efficient bulbs – Even though energy efficient light bulbs may cost more to purchase than incandescent bulbs, they are more cost-effective in the long term. Apart from lasting longer, they also utilize significantly less energy to operate, consequently offering savings over their lifetime. They are also versatile since you can use them to replace most incandescent bulbs.
- How do I budget for my rent and utilities? – A useful rule of thumb is to expect to spend about 25% of your salary on rent. Another rule of thumb is to prepare to spend 20% of the rent you pay monthly on utilities if you live alone. If you split costs with roommates, about 10% should do. For a more accurate estimate, you can ask your landlord for the average monthly utility bill.
- What utilities do you pay for as a homeowner? – There is not much difference in the type of utilities that homeowners and renters pay. As a homeowner, expect to typically pay for the same utilities as renters. Charges vary depending on the size of the home and consumption rates.