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Complete List of Utilities In A House

what is included in utilities

Are you moving into an apartment for the first time? Or maybe you’re about to buy your new home. Such occasions require you to do some number crunching. Aside from the monthly rent or mortgage payments, you’ll need to consider your utility expenses when planning your budget. Understanding what utilities are can help you have a clearer idea of the amount you need to set aside each month.  

If you’re renting, discuss the arrangements regarding utility payments with your landlord beforehand. Confirm whether the rent amount includes the utility costs or not. In this way, you can factor the prices into your apartment expenses. But what are utilities? Let’s see what they are and how much they’ll cost. 

House Utilities

Utilities are services that make your home habitable. They keep your living space comfortable, clean and running smoothly. The primary utility services you get in renting an apartment are water, electricity and natural gas, sewage, trash, and recycling. It’s your choice whether to get other services such as phone, cable, and internet.  

The city’s public utility commission usually takes charge of providing the essential services. So you’ll need to contact them if you’re about to move into your new home.   

Water & Sewer

This utility refers to the water you use in your bathroom and kitchen, the sewage system, and what you need to operate appliances such as washing machines or dishwashers. A typical American household uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day, on average. What type of rate you pay every month depends on where you live. You may pay a flat fee, a seasonal rate, a budget rate, or other types of rates for your water utility bill.  

Electric & Gas

You may not want to use natural gas in your home or apartment. In such cases, you won’t receive a gas bill. Although having a gas service is optional, you’ll definitely need electricity. The per kWh rate of electricity varies per state. So someone who lives in Texas may have a higher or lower electric bill compared to those in other states.  

Your electric bill is typically the biggest among your utility bills. On average, households in the country pay around $111.67 a month. You can implement some energy conservation measures to lower your electricity expenses..   

Trash & Recycling

The city’s waste management company takes care of your trash and recycling needs. You’ll need to pay a monthly fee for waste removal, which means another utility bill for you. The city sets the costs for this service.   

Depending on where you live, you may need to place your wastes in different bins depending on the types. Waste removal schedules may also vary for the different kinds of waste. Expect a monthly bill that ranges between $20 and $50.   


Internet, cable, and phone services aren’t considered essential services. However, most people nowadays need these technology utilities to conduct business or for entertainment purposes. They’re not public utilities, so the city doesn’t take charge of providing the services. Instead, you can choose your utility company and the service level you want.   

Most providers offer internet and cable as a package deal. Expect to set aside a little over $61 a month for these services.   


Like cable or internet, security isn’t classified as an essential service. Still, having this amenity can help you sleep better at night. You’ll usually need to pay upfront for the installation and hardware of the security system. You then get billed for the monthly monitoring fee. Monthly monitoring fees range between $25 and $50.  

Common Utilities in an Apartment

Utilities for homes and apartments are almost the same. Sometimes, their differences lie in who sets up the services, pays for them, and the payment method. Property owners typically get hooked up to the utility service and pay the utility bills themselves.  

The situation sometimes differs when it comes to apartment dwellers. In an apartment community, the tenants share some utility services, so the costs are divided between them. The landlord may also take charge of settling the fee, which is included in the monthly rent.

Water & Sewage

In apartment complexes, the utility company may send a bill to individual units or the one in charge of the complex. The tenants can split the utility cost by the number of units in the complex. In such cases, the amount each renter needs to pay gets added to the unit’s subsequent rent payment.   


In most instances, you’ll be paying for your electricity bills. However, the energy utility company sometimes forwards the bill to the landlord or apartment manager. If you’ve made arrangements before you signed the lease, you’ll know who will settle this utility.   

The average bill for a single-room apartment is $60 a month. That’s if you live alone. Having a companion can increase the cost to about $66.   

Natural Gas

Similar to the case with electricity payments, natural gas utilities are settled depending on your lease agreement. Some apartment units don’t use natural gas, which reduces the utility bills on your list.  

Gas bills for apartments range between $30 and $150. The amount varies depending on factors, such as the price of gas in your state and the climate in your area. 


This is one utility cost that tenants usually share in an apartment building. The landlord of the apartment complex often takes charge of contacting the trash company. The trash removal and recycling costs are then included in your monthly rent.  


Some apartment buildings have gated entries or monitored security systems. If yours does, expect to pay for this service. The additional cost is usually included in the rent. You can also install your own security system, such as a burglar alarm, and shoulder the associated expenses.

Who Pays for Utilities in Apartments?

Various arrangements exist when it comes to paying the utility cost in apartments. That’s why it’s important to clear everything upfront before signing the lease to avoid any misunderstandings with your landlord. Here are the typical arrangements you can expect as a tenant.  

  • The rent amount includes the utilities: The landlord factors in the cost of the utilities in the rent you pay. The price is based on the average monthly usage for the unit.  
  • The landlord shoulders some of the utilities: The owner of the apartment complex takes care of shared utility expenses, such as water, sewage, security, and trash. Meanwhile, you pay for those with more individualized usage, like electricity and gas.  
  • You pay for all utilities: Just like a property owner, you shoulder all the expenses for your utilities.  

Factors Affecting the Cost of Utilities

Knowing how to estimate your utility cost can help you plan your budget. It also prevents unpleasant surprises when you get your bills. Several factors influence how much you’ll need to pay for your utility services.  

House/Apartment Size

The square footage of your home or apartment affects the energy consumption of your home. You’ll need bigger air conditioning units to cool large spaces. Your heating requirements also depend on the size of the area. Lighting costs can likewise increase if you have more rooms to illuminate.

Number of Household Members

It naturally follows that more people living in a home means higher consumption of utilities like water, gas, and electricity. For example, you’ll be washing and drying more laundry, which consumes more electricity and water. Keeping the room at a comfortable temperature uses more electricity as the number of occupants increases.  

Regional Weather

Those who live in temperate climates will likely pay less for their utilities, particularly for electricity. In contrast, those who experience extreme temperatures will consume more electricity for their heating and cooling needs.    


The price for a cubic foot of water or the per kWh electricity rate varies per state. So, where you live also affects how much you’ll need to budget for your utilities. Water usage also tends to be higher in arid areas of the country.   


Air conditioning units and space heaters consume a lot of electricity. Other energy-hungry appliances include washers and clothes dryers. Basically, the more devices and electronics you have, the higher your utility expenses. Moreover, older and less energy-efficient appliances tend to consume more energy.  

Light Fixtures

Light fixtures don’t require a lot of electricity. Still, how many bulbs you need to light your home is another factor that affects your utility costs. The type of bulbs you use can hike or reduce your monthly expenses. LED bulbs are generally more energy-efficient than conventional bulbs.

Tips on Reducing Your Utility Bills

There’s no getting around paying your utility bills. However, employing some hacks can help you save money each month. The amount may not be much, but it adds up over time. Whether they involve ambitious projects or just simple life changes, your efforts will be well worth it.  

Reinforce your Windows

Drafty windows can lead to higher energy bills, as your living space loses hot or cool air. Plugging the leaks by providing insulation helps minimize power usage, mainly if you live in an area that experiences seasonal changes.  

Use a Fan Instead 

A large AC unit uses around 4,000 watts an hour. Compare that with an electric fan’s consumption at 39 watts per hour. If you want to lower your apartment utilities, turn on your fan instead of cranking up your AC system.   

Buy/Use Energy-Efficient Gadgets

Energy Star certified appliances and devices consume less energy than non-certified ones. So if you’re in the market for, say, an air purifier, look for the Energy Star seal. It may cost a bit more than its conventional counterpart, but you’ll recoup the added expense by reducing your utility bills.  


What sector is utilities in?

The utility sector belongs to the transportation, trade, and utility supersector. This sector encompasses companies that provide amenities to consumers, such as electricity, gas, and water.  

Is a cell phone considered a utility?

In general, the term utilities cover phone services. However, this usually refers to landlines. A cellphone is considered a mobile phone service, so it is not classified as a utility bill. Utilities that are generally included in a rental contract are electricity, natural gas, water, sewage, trash, and recycling collection.  

Is Microsoft Word a utility software?

Utility software is typically used to optimize, protect, repair, or maintain a computer. Microsoft Word is a word processing program that allows users to create documents, both simple and complex. So, no, MS Word is not classified as utility software.

What are considered business utilities?

Business utilities are those services needed to keep the commercial space comfortable and running smoothly. These include water, electricity, heating and cooling, trash pick-up, and security. Businesses also need technology utilities like internet and phone service.  


You’ll need to include the cost of utilities in your budget whether you’re moving to a new home or renting an apartment. How high your utility bills go depends on several factors. Fortunately, several ways exist to reduce your expenses. Simple adjustments in your habits, such as turning off the lights when you leave the room or fixing leaky faucets, can help you save money on your utilities.

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