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What Are Utilities in a Home, Apartment, or Business?

What Are Utilities in a Home, Apartment, or Business?

Utility bills can stack up in a hurry. Learn more about what bills you should expect and how to budget for them.

Thad Warren
Thad Warren
March 2022
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3 Minutes

Whether you’re buying a house or renting an apartment, it’s easy to overlook the cost of utilities while evaluating your budget. However, with the range of services you need for a comfortable living environment, your utility expenses can quickly stack up.

Keep reading to learn more about what utilities are, and what you can do to reduce your monthly bills.

What are utilities in a house or home?

Utilities are the basic services your home, apartment, or business needs to keep it comfortable and functioning properly. Common utilities include water, sewer, electric, gas, trash, and recycling. Technology subscriptions like cable TV, internet, security, and phone service can also be considered utilities.

Home utilities are similar to utilities in an apartment, with one major exception: who pays the utility bills. In an apartment, utilities may be split between the tenant and landlord. But in a house, the homeowner is in charge of contracting the required services and paying for them.

Water and sewer

When you buy a house, you’re responsible for setting up water and sewage services with your city municipality. Depending on where you live, you’ll pay a flat fee for water every month, seasonal rate, water budget-based rate, or another type of rate.

Electric and gas

Your home may not require natural gas services, but electricity is a must! The cost of electricity varies by state — and here at EnergyBot, we track these down to the cent every day. Homeowners can save on electricity and gas by using efficient appliances and adding high-quality insulation to their walls.

Trash and recycling

If you want the city to pick up your trash and recyclables every week, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee. Curbside collection rates vary depending on your location, and your local city government normally oversees contracts for residential garbage collection.

Technology

For comforts like cable TV, internet, and phone service, contact your preferred service providers to connect your home. These are not essential services so you can decide which provider and service level you’d prefer. Purchasing a modem and router instead of renting, and choosing streaming services instead of cable helps homeowners save on technology utilities.

Security

Home security is not an essential utility, but it certainly helps you sleep sounder. When selecting a security system, be prepared to pay upfront for installation and equipment, plus a monthly monitoring fee.

What are common utilities in an apartment?

Common apartment utilities include water and sewage, electricity, natural gas, trash and security.

When you’re apartment hunting, be sure to ask the landlord about the unit’s average cost of utilities. This amount, in addition to rent, is important to include in your budget. You should also inquire about what utilities may be included in your rent because it’s common for property owners to cover one or more in your monthly payment.

Water and sewage

You need to pay for water and sewer utilities in order to flush the toilet, wash dishes, and shower. This type of utility is typically managed by your landlord, but you may receive a water bill for your individual unit — or it may be split among all tenants in your building.

Electricity

Electricity keeps the lights on in your apartment and powers all of your chargers and appliances. It runs your air conditioning, internet service, and much more. Your electric bill is based on your energy usage and will likely be your most expensive bill. Inefficient appliances, an A/C unit that’s constantly running, and devices left in “sleep” mode quickly drive up the cost of your energy bill.

Natural gas

Natural gas heats your apartment and fuels gas appliances like stovetops and ovens. Depending on your apartment, you might not have a gas bill at all — many buildings use electricity to heat and cool the apartments, as well as electric stoves and ovens. If your apartment uses natural gas, you’ll be billed based on how much you use.

Trash

Your landlord should have a contract with your city’s waste management company to collect tenants’ trash and recycling. Often, the cost of trash collection is handled by the property owner, but you may have to pay a monthly fee. Be sure to check your lease to understand who covers this apartment utility.

Security

Security is a less common utility, but your apartment complex may include a gated entry or a professionally monitored security system. This could require an additional charge but is likely included in your rent. However, if you want to install your own home alarm system, you are responsible for the cost.

What are utilities in a business?

Business owners often face confusing and expensive utility bills in addition to their normal operating expenses. At a minimum, commercial properties typically need electricity, heating and cooling, water, trash pickup, security, and much more. If you are investing in making your business more sustainable, these expenses can be even more expensive than their traditional counterparts. 

Utility costs for business owners can vary widely depending on location, industry, energy utilization, square footage, and dozens of other factors. If you suspect you’re overpaying your energy utility company, review these average electric bills by industry and get in touch with our team at EnergyBot!

Seasonal Energy and Utilities Savings Tips

Because the cost of several types of utilities is based on energy utilization, you have the power to lower your utility costs by making a few adjustments! Here’s how you can save on utilities every season:

Fall

  • Turn off your A/C, when possible.
  • Replace the filters on your air conditioner.
  • Open curtains to let the sun warm your home.

Winter

  • Keep your thermostat at a low (but comfortable) temperature.
  • Install insulating shades on drafty windows.
  • Use LED lights for holiday decorations.

Spring and Summer

  • Use fans instead of air conditioning, when possible.
  • Lower the temperature of your water heater.
  • Air dry your clothing and hair instead of using electric appliances.

Year-Round

  • Turn off lights when you leave a room.
  • Power down electronics.
  • Invest in new, energy-efficient appliances.

How to Save More on Your Electric Bill

Are you ready to save on your utility bills? We can help! We simplify the complexities of the energy industry for you to help you find the best rate. Simply enter your zip code to instantly compare rates or read our FAQs to learn more about how we can help you start saving on your energy bills.