When it comes to renting an apartment, you have to consider the cost of utilities.
In addition to paying monthly rent and any fees associated with signing a lease, you’ll also need to pay for your utilities such as gas, water, Wi-Fi and electricity. Altogether, they can cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars per year. The average cost of utilities across the U.S. for a renter is about $240—not including cable, internet or streaming. Add those in and you could easily go over $300 or even $400 per month.
Electricity is typically the most expensive of your utilities, costing the average home around $114-$117 per month. Of course, this number can vary depending on your energy habits, the state you live in, the size of your home or apartment and if you’re splitting it with any roommates.
But while electricity is typically the most expensive of your utilities, it’s also the area where you can save the most money—as long as you have the right energy-saving strategy.
Here’s what you need to know about how much it costs to power a one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartment—and how to save on those costs.
The average electricity bill for a one-bedroom in the U.S. ranges from $60-$66 depending on whether one person or two people live in the apartment.Two-bedroom apartments are slightly more expensive, coming in at around $76 dollars.
|Size||Avg. Electric Bill||Avg. Total Utility Cost|
The average one- and two-bedroom apartment uses 20-30kWh of electricity per day. That translates to around 900kWh per month. kWh stands for kilowatt-hour, which is the standard unit of measure for electricity usage and costs.
It is important to keep in mind that electricity rates are different in different states and can even vary from city to city. So, the cost of each kWh will vary depending on the state you live in. When you are estimating your electricity costs, make sure to look up the electricity rates in the zip code that you are looking to rent in.
It also goes without saying that the more people living in an apartment, the higher the electricity usage and cost. But in many cases, this also means splitting the bill.
Let’s break down that usage.
Typically, heating and cooling will account for the largest portion of your monthly electricity usage. Heating and cooling can account for up to 50% of your monthly electricity usage.
The other 50% is used by other major electricity consumers such as water heaters, lighting, washers and dryers, and kitchen appliances. For more information, check out our breakdown of what appliances are driving up your electric bill each month.
As you are budgeting for your apartment, take a moment to think about your own energy habits.
How often do you do laundry? How often do you watch TV? Do you use your AC and heaters often? Once you know your own electricity habits, you can begin to estimate and calculate what your own electricity costs will be.
Typically, newer apartments are a bit more energy efficient than older ones. For example, a new apartment may have slightly better insulation than an older apartment, so your heating and cooling efforts will be more efficient. Newer apartments are also more likely to have energy efficient appliances installed like refrigerators, LED lights and washer and dryer.
The more people that live in your apartment, the more expensive your electricity bill will be. An extra roommate means a couple of extra loads of laundry, an extra shower every day and more overall energy consumption. Of course, an extra roommate means you will also get to split your electricity costs.
Electricity rates not only vary from city to city, but also can vary throughout the day depending on demand. If you are on a plan with variable electricity rates, then it is likely that your electricity will cost more in the evenings and nighttime when most people are home than during the daytime (though the rise of work-from-home certainly levels this out a bit). In any case, it’s good to keep in mind when demand for electricity peaks so you can limit your usage during these times. Try scheduling your dishwasher to later at night, say, just before bed instead of immediately after dinner. Or consider doing laundry during the day if you’re able to.
When you are budgeting for your new apartment, you will want to make sure you get an estimate of how much you will likely be spending on electricity every month.
This can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are unfamiliar with electricity terminology and utility bills. We’re here to help. For some tips and tricks, check out our guide to calculating your electricity bill.
The most important step in estimating your costs is to try to break down how you use your electricity. Think about some of these questions:
Once you have a big picture view of which of your habits (and/or your roommates’) are using the most electricity, you can start identifying the top opportunities for savings.
Moving into a new apartment is a fantastic opportunity to rethink your at-home energy usage. There are some major energy-saving tactics that are out of your control—such as switching to Energy Star appliances or installing smart home tech like a programmable thermostat (although it could be worth a conversation with your landlord to consider a few easy energy-efficient improvements).
However, there are also some everyday things you can do to keep your usage down and costs low.
For more ways to save on electricity costs in your 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom apartment, check out our ultimate guide to saving on your electricity bill.
If making changes to your lifestyle or installing home improvements are all out of the question, you may still be able to get energy savings—and Perch can help. At Perch, we're on a mission to make cleaner energy more accessible, more affordable, and more equitable for all. Whether you rent an apartment with roommates, own a home, or run a business, Perch offers ways to save money on your electricity bills, or even help the planet, too.
Here's how community solar works: Perch will help match you to a local solar farm and you’ll support the operations of that farm so that it can generate and contribute as much clean, solar energy to the overall grid. You don't directly receive electricity from the solar power you're supporting, but thanks to government incentives, you’ll get credits toward your own utility bill. Essentially, you’re being rewarded with discounts on your own electricity because you’re enabling solar generation and development in your state.
Thanks to energy deregulation in many U.S. states, you can shop for electricity outside of your local utility. If you’re on your utility’s default basic service rate, it’s a “mixed” energy plan (generated partly by fossil fuels, partly by renewable resources). But Perch can switch you to a low-cost cleaner energy plan—outside of what your utility is offering—that’s backed 100% by clean, renewable resources like solar and wind. We’ll find you a price that’s lower than the market rate for similar options in your area. You don't have to do anything differently, but you'll feel great knowing that your personal electricity usage is now contributing to a healthier planet, and you've reduced your everyday carbon footprint.