If you’re getting ready to leave the nest and move into your first apartment, you’re probably wondering what this life upgrade is going to cost you. Rent is just the beginning; you’ll have empty rooms to furnish, renters insurance to consider and utility bills to pay. And when it comes to the latter, your costs can be difficult to estimate.
Learn how to estimate and manage your apartment’s electricity cost with the below tips:
- Find the average electric bill for an apartment by asking the landlord or looking online for estimates
- Check a potential apartment for energy efficiency features
- Cut electricity cost with energy-saving habits
What’s a Normal Electric Bill for an Apartment?
The short answer: it depends. It depends on a lot of things — the weather, the price per kilowatt hour of electricity, the size of the apartment, the appliances that come with the apartment, the electronics you’re bringing with you — there are so many factors that you’ll never know for sure until you get that first bill.
But rather than wait and see, it’s best to ask someone who’s in-the-know. If you’re thinking about applying for a particular apartment, ask the landlord or property manager for utility estimates. If the current tenant is still around when you get a chance to look at the apartment, that’s an even better person to ask. Just keep in mind that your energy consuming habits might be a little different.
You’re not always going to be able to track down this inside information. So for some very rough estimates, you can use a reference point like the moving website ForRent.com, which estimates the average electric bill for an apartment based on size:
- Studio apartment: $55 per month
- One-bedroom apartment: $60 per month
- Two-bedroom apartment: $76 per month
- Three-bedroom apartment: $87 per month
As you can see, the size of the apartment makes a significant difference. That’s because air conditioning accounts for a huge share of residential electricity use, and in apartments with electric furnaces, heating takes a big bite, too.
Finding an Energy-Efficient Apartment
Most renters care more about factors like the location, size and rent of apartments than their energy efficiency. But if you find an apartment with great energy efficiency features, it could help keep more money in your pocket.
When you get a chance to tour a prospective apartment, look for things like multi-paned windows, high-quality weather stripping and energy efficient appliances. Don’t hesitate to ask about energy-efficient features, because landlords often like to point them out.
It can sometimes be helpful to tour apartments on a day that is unseasonably hot or cold, as it will help you sense how well an apartment is insulated. If it feels stuffy or drafty, the apartment might not only be uncomfortable, but expensive to heat and cool.
Cutting Apartment Electricity Costs
The major factors in apartment energy efficiency are things you can’t control, like the efficiency of the HVAC system and refrigerator or the quality of the insulation. But once you’re settled into your apartment, there are still things you can do to keep your electricity costs down as much as possible.
Here are a few of our favorite tips for apartment dwellers:
- Buy LED light bulbs if your apartment doesn’t already have them. They’re a little more expensive than incandescent bulbs, but they’re far more energy-efficient, and they don’t create unwanted heat in the summer. You can buy a few at a time and upgrade your whole apartment gradually. Save the old bulbs so you can put them back when you move out. LED bulbs last for about 25,000 hours, so you’ll definitely want to take them with you to your next apartment!
- Adjust the thermostat. Since air conditioning and heating accounts for the biggest share of your bill, it also presents the biggest opportunity for savings. Set the thermostat one degree higher than usual in summer and one degree lower in winter. If that’s no bother, go one degree further. Keep pushing yourself until you find the right compromise between comfort and cost.
- Use ceiling fans. Don’t count on your HVAC system to do it all. You can use ceiling fans year-round by spinning them counter-clockwise in summer for a cool breeze and clockwise in winter to circulate warm air.
- Use window treatments to block out the summer sun, but throw them open in winter to get the free heat.
- Dress for the occasion. While you’re lounging around the house, tank tops in summer and sweaters in winter will make it easier to use your HVAC less.
- Take advantage of time-of-use electricity rates. If your electric plan offers cheaper rates at night or on the weekends, schedule your energy-using chores like dishes and laundry around these times so that you can do them on the cheap.
- Get out. You’ve moved to a new neighborhood, so go explore! Just be sure to shut off the lights and adjust the thermostat on your way out, and you’ll save money simply by living your life.
Lower Your Apartment Electric Bill
If you don’t like the uncertainty of waiting for your electric bill to arrive each month, ease your stress by shopping around for a competitive electric rate with First Choice Power. We offer many electricity rates and plans with perks like free weekends and supporting green energy so that you can find your perfect fit.