Average Utilities Cost Per Month In U.S. Homes
Hanna Kielar14-minute read
October 28, 2021
The amount you spend on your utilities each month depends on several factors, including where you live, how large your home is and how committed you are to taking the steps necessary to reduce your energy consumption.
A typical household in the United States spends more than $2,000 a year on utility bills according to the federal government's ENERGY STAR® program. That’s more than $167 a month.
Here's a closer look at how much homeowners and renters spend on the various utilities that power their homes as well as some advice on how to lower your average utility bill each month.
How Much Is The Average Water Bill In The United States?
How much can you expect to pay for your home's water? That depends on where you live, the size of your home and the ways in which you use water.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average U.S. household uses about 88 gallons of water per day for every person. This means a family of four would use about 10,560 gallons of water in a typical 30-day stretch.
The nonprofit global water research organization Circle of Blue says it could cost you more than $50 a month to pay for water depending on where you live.
Even if you take steps to conserve the amount of water you’re using, you still might spend more than you'd like depending on where you live. In some cities, water just costs more.
For example, according to Circle of Blue, the average water bill for a Baltimore family of four using 400 gallons total per day was $59.39 a month in 2018. In Chicago, the average cost for the same family came in at $46.56 a month. In Seattle, it was much higher at $104.53.
How Much Is The Average Monthly Electric Bill In The United States?
Your electric bill is like your water bill: How much you’re charged each month will depend on where you live, how big your home is and whether you leave the lights on all day or flip those switches as you move from room to room.
That said, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said that the average electric bill for U.S. households came in at $111.67 per month in 2017.
Again, how much you pay can vary depending on where you live. In Hawaii, for example, the Administration said that the average monthly electric bill came in at a far higher than the national average at $149.33 in 2017. However, that same figure in New Mexico came in at $79.16 a month.
Average Monthly Electric Bill By State
How average are you when it comes to the amount you pay for electricity each month? A good way to determine this is to study how your average electricity bill compares to other consumers in your state.
Here’s a look at the average 2019 monthly electric bill in every state courtesy of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
New Hampshire: $120.04
New Jersey: $105.07
New Mexico: $80.04
New York: $103.60
North Carolina: $123.25
North Dakota: $114.27
Rhode Island: $121.62
South Carolina: $144.73
South Dakota: $120.60
West Virginia: $121.90
How Much Is The Average Natural Gas Cost In The United States?
Wondering how much you'll spend on natural gas costs when you move into a new home? Figuring this out can be tricky. That's because there are so many variables that can impact your natural gas bill.
For example, your gas bill will be higher if your home's furnace, water heater, oven, stove and dryer are powered by gas. If your home's appliances are instead powered mostly by electricity, your monthly gas bill will drop.
It also matters where you live. Your area's climate plays a major role in the size of your monthly gas bills. Heating a home accounts for the greatest consumption of natural gas. If you live in a cold climate where the winter months see frigid temperatures, you'll probably spend more on natural gas than someone in a milder climate.
Then there's the size of your home. As you can guess, it takes far more gas to heat a larger home. Consequently, you'll pay more each month in natural gas if you own a big home.
You can impact how much gas your home consumes each month by boosting the energy efficiency of your home. Adding more insulation to your home's walls, for instance, will keep the hot air in your residence for a longer amount of time. Multi-pane windows will do the same. Investing in furnaces and water heaters that are more efficient will also help reduce your monthly gas bills.
So, how much can you expect to pay each month in natural gas to heat your home and power your gas-fueled appliances? The American Gas Association most recently said that households in the United States spent an average of $661 a year in natural gas to heat and fuel their homes. That comes out to a bit more than $55 a month.
Average Natural Gas Prices By State
Knowing what households pay for natural gas for the United States as a whole doesn’t help much if you’re trying to compare your gas consumption and spending to your neighbors.
What can help is a list of what the average yearly gas bill is in each state. Fortunately, the American Gas Association broke down these numbers for 2019.
New Hampshire: $1,158
New Jersey: $820
New Mexico: $456
New York: $1,113
North Carolina: $671
North Dakota: $621
Rhode Island: $1,241
South Carolina: $555
South Dakota: $556
West Virginia: $707
What Does It Cost To Get Online, Watch Cable TV Or Make A Phone Call?
Your phone service, internet connection, cable TV service, garbage collection and recycling pick-ups are all utilities too. When estimating how much you’ll spend on utilities each month, you need to also consider these additional costs.
Consider cable or pay TV. Leichtman Research Group reported in October 2018 that about 78% of U.S. households with a TV subscribe to some form of pay TV service. Leichtman also reported that subscribers spent an average of about $107 a month on pay TV services. That's a slight jump of 1% from a year earlier.
How much are households paying for internet service? In 2018, personal finance site CreditDonkey said the average internet bill in the United States was $66.17 a month.
How Big Of A Financial Impact Does The Cost Of Utilities Have On Consumers?
The American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy said that consumers spent 7% of their annual incomes on energy costs in 2016. Paying for utilities is more of a burden, of course, on consumers with lower incomes. According to the Coalition, households earning the lowest incomes spent 22% of their after-tax income on residential utilities and gasoline. Households in the top income bracket, though, spent just 5% of their annual incomes on these costs.
The Coalition also points out that the average utility cost isn’t decreasing. It’s instead heading in the opposite direction. The Coalition reported that national average electricity rates have increased by 33% from 2005 to 2016. In fact, electric bills are typically the largest utility cost that homeowners face each month.
Total Cost Of Utilities By State
When you add up all the utilities that serve your home (everything from water to electricity, cable and internet), how much can you expect to pay each month?
In 2018, Move.org studied every state and determined how much consumers in each paid every month on average for utilities.
Here's a look at the results:
New Hampshire: $477.02
New Jersey: $432.72
New Mexico: $392.12
New York: $477.31
North Carolina: $417.91
North Dakota: $411.95
Rhode Island: $521.98
South Carolina: $473.78
South Dakota: $382.57
West Virginia: $393.39
The Most And Least Expensive States For Utilities
Along with the above list and using 2018 data, Move.org put together a list of the 10 states in which the combined cost of utilities were the highest as well as one for the 10 states where they were the most affordable.
Here were the 10 states in which utility costs were the highest each month:
1. Hawaii: The big culprits in Hawaii are electricity and natural gas, both of which rank as the most expensive in the United States. Electricity costs an average of $300.04 a month while natural gas costs $232.20. That helps account for Hawaii's high $730.86 average utility cost each month.
2. Alaska: Move.org said that Alaska residents paid more for internet service in 2018 than the residents of any other state, an average of $107.43 a month.
3. Rhode Island: Natural gas and internet costs rank high in Rhode Island; fourth and second in the nation, respectively.
4. Connecticut: Natural gas costs an average of $114.11 each month here, higher than in most states. Connecticut's average $187.29 electricity bill is high, too, ranking third-highest in the country.
5. New York: New York residents pay an average of $173.84 a month in electric costs. This helps explain why the state's average monthly utility costs rank so high.
6. New Hampshire: Electricity and natural gas costs are higher than average in New Hampshire at $169.35 and $107.67 respectively.
7. South Carolina: South Carolina residents pay a lot for natural gas, an average of $150.03 a month, according to Move.org.
8. Massachusetts: The electric bills are high in Massachusetts, ranking fourth in the country at an average of $185.05 per month.
9.Vermont: Vermont residents face higher-than-average monthly electricity and natural gas bills at $160.20 and $110.43. That combination puts this state in ninth place on this list.
10. Maine: Maine brings up the rear of the states in which utilities cost the most. Maine residents who are wondering why they’re in 10th place merely have to look at their natural gas and electricity bills, which are $146.30 and $132.04 on average.
If you’re looking for smaller monthly bills, consider moving to one of these 10 states. Move.org ranks them as the states with the smallest average monthly utility bills.
1. Idaho: The Gem State is the place to live if you're interested in paying the least for utilities. According to Move.org's list, natural gas is particularly cheap here, averaging $52.89 a month in 2018. Electricity is pretty cheap, too, costing an average of just $93.82 a month (the fifth-cheapest in the country).
2. Utah: In Utah, electricity, natural gas and internet service all rank below average. Natural gas costs are the second most affordable in the country at $52.33 a month.
3. Montana: Montana ranks as the third-cheapest state for utility costs thanks to natural gas costing just $52.12 a month on average in 2018, the single most affordable rate in the country.
4. Washington: Move.org says that internet costs in Washington are expensive, but ultra-cheap electricity and natural gas costs make up for that, earning Washington the title as fourth-cheapest state for utility costs.
5. Nevada: Affordable natural gas costs are again a main factor for Nevada, which ranks as the fifth most affordable state in America for utility costs. Electricity is pretty inexpensive here as well, coming in at just $101.71 per month on average in 2018.
6. Louisiana: Louisiana claimed the smallest average monthly electric bill in 2018, $86.83. Mostly because of this, the state ranked as the sixth-most affordable when it came to monthly utility bills.
7. Oregon: Residents of Oregon are fortunate to pay below-average monthly fees for both electricity and natural gas. Thanks to this, the state has one of the lowest monthly utility costs in the country.
8. South Dakota: While their electricity costs aren’t particularly low, residents of South Dakota don't pay as much for internet service or natural gas as most of their peers across the country.
9. Arkansas: The average monthly electric bill in Arkansas is the one of the lowest in the country, ranking in 48th place at $89.52. The state's average internet bill at $51.04 a month also ranked as 48th in the United States.
10. Wisconsin: Monthly electric bills were among the highest in Wisconsin in 2018, but both internet access and natural gas costs were far below the national average.
How To Reduce Your Utility Bill
It's possible to reduce the money you spend on electricity, water and gas simply by changing your habits or investing in energy-efficient appliances and insulation. Here are some changes that could possibly lead to big savings:
- Work that thermostat: In the winter, keep your home colder when you're not in the house and only boost the temperature when you return. In the summer, let the temperature rise in your home when you're out. There's no need to blast the heat or air conditioning if you're not around to enjoy it.
- Check your windows and doors: Drafty windows and doors cause your home's heating and cooling systems to work harder. That increases your monthly utility bills. Replace windows that leak air with more efficient models. Do the same with your doors to keep the cold and hot air inside your home.
- Take shorter showers: You can dramatically cut your water usage and lower your water bill by taking shorter showers. Reducing your shower time by as little as 5 minutes a day can make a dramatic impact.
- Invest in a more efficient showerhead: New showerheads, even efficient ones, aren't overly expensive. By investing in a showerhead that uses less water you can further reduce your monthly water bills by a significant amount.
- Don't use hot water in your washing machine: You'd be surprised at how much more energy your washing machine will use when you wash your clothes in hot water. To save on energy usage, wash your clothes in cold or warm water instead.
- Fix faucets that leak: A leaky faucet is annoying, but it's also expensive. All that dripping adds up to a lot of wasted water by the end of the month. Fix your drippy faucets and watch your water bill dip.
- Invest in energy-efficient appliances: It might be expensive to replace older appliances with energy-efficient models, but these newer models consume far less energy. Spending your money on a more efficient refrigerator, dishwasher, furnace or air conditioning unit can end up leaving you with far lower bills each month.
- Invest in new light bulbs: Newer light bulbs of the fluorescent or LED variety consume far less energy than your typical halogen light bulb.
The Bottom Line
There are many ways you can reduce your utility costs even if you don’t want to move to a different state. Consider all the ways you can reduce your future utility bills. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also help save the environment.
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