Gas; Heating and cooling; Water; Sewer use; Trash and recycling; Internet, phone and cable. How to estimate utility costs for a home.
Key utility bill statistics
Average monthly electric bill: $117.46 (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2020)
Average annual gas bill: $667 (American Gas Association, 2020)
Average monthly water bill: $112.04 for four-person household (Circle of Blue, 2018)
Average annual internet bill: $1,392 (Parks Associates, April 2022)
Year-over-year increase in energy prices: 32 percent (Consumer Price Index, March 2022)
Year-over-year increase in gasoline prices: 48 percent (CPI, March 2022)
Year-over-year increase in fuel oil prices: 70.1 percent (CPI, March 2022)
Year-over-year inflation rate: 8.5 percent (CPI, March 2022)
- Turn off and unplug – While this change might seem minor, standby power accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of residential energy usage, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Turning off appliances regularly could save you up to $100 per year.
- Install ceiling fans – Ceiling fans promote circulation, so you might be able to get away with a higher thermostat setting, which lowers costs.
- Upgrade to more efficient appliances – Products with the Energy Star label meet government efficiency standards, and sometimes more so. Energy Star refrigerators, for example, are at least 15 percent more efficient than the minimum efficiency criteria. In short, these types of appliances use less energy and can help you save money.
- Switch to LEDs – Residential LED lighting uses at least 75 percent less energy, according to the DOE, and lasts longer compared to incandescent lighting. The result: an average annual savings of about $225. Pair the LEDs with timers and dimmers to really maximize these savings.
- Install solar panels – Solar panels produce energy from the sun, a free power source. The cost to install solar panels isn’t cheap, however, but the expense tends to pay off in the long run. You can estimate your potential savings using this tool.
- Use smart meters – Smart meters are devices attached to appliances that track their energy usage, sending readings directly to the utility provider. If the smart meter shows a spike in usage, you can take steps like using less power or water to reduce consumption.
- Request an energy audit – A home energy auditor can identify where your home is losing energy. If you make the energy upgrades recommended by the auditor, you could save between 5 percent to 30 percent on your bills, according to the DOE.
by Ruben Caginalp