When moving into a new apartment, you might be excited about the view of the park, the patio for grilling or the nice living room for entertaining. But before you can enjoy the sweet amenities of your new apartment, you’ll have to take care of the basics like getting the lights turned on and the water running.
Take note that even if you’ve rented a utilities-included apartment, you may still need to handle some utilities yourself, like Internet or cable.
Here’s our ultimate checklist for setting up the utilities in your new home.
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Electric and gas are some of your primary utilities, and every apartment is set up differently. When moving, first determine what your apartment’s heat source is. Many apartments have gas heat, but electric and propane heat are also popular. Some apartments have gas stoves, while others have electric ones.
No matter how your apartment is set up, you’ll definitely need electricity to power the lights and your gadgets. You’ll also need to determine which utility companies service your apartment. If you’re unsure, ask your property manager or check with the city.
Water and sewer are often included in your rent. Check with your lease or property manager if you need to clarify this. If they’re not included, there is usually a department of the local government that manages these utilities.
Internet is an important utility (some even say critically important). When moving, determine whether your apartment building offers free Wi-Fi. If so, that will save you from another bill. However, be cautious about connecting to your neighbor’s Wi-Fi. If your use slows down their connection, that could be the start of neighborly disagreement.
When purchasing Internet service, ask yourself if you can bundle Internet with your phone or cable to save on your bill. Note that when you’re choosing your Internet provider, you’re also choosing your speed. DSL is cheaper but slower. Cable is fast, but you share bandwidth with your neighbors, which can bottleneck during peak hours. Satellite Internet provides service where other types are not available. Fiber optic is the fastest but not yet available everywhere.
Phone service when moving is a little simpler thanks to cell phones. Ask yourself if you need a landline. If so, are there packages that combine landline and cell phone service? You may also consider a VoIP phone solution that would work better than a landline.
Cable is another utility you’ll need to consider. Many people are opting out of cable, as digital streaming of TV is growing in popularity (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.). So ask yourself if you need cable TV.
If you go with streaming, Netflix, Hulu and Prime subscriptions plus Internet and the standard 20 TV channels will cost about $70 per month. The monthly cost for 200+ cable TV channels bundled with Internet and phone can run about $130 per month. If you do choose to get cable, remember that bundling a cable subscription with phone and Internet service can save money.
Things to Consider When Setting Up Utilities
Transferring service: If your existing utility company provides service to your new location, you may be able to transfer service rather than set up a new account. This will likely save you time and money, as compared to starting a new service.
Credit check: When you’re setting up an account, some utility companies do a credit check to determine if you need to pay a security deposit. Deposit amounts vary based on credit history and previous usage, but a typical deposit would be one to two times your monthly bill.
Timing: It can take three days to two weeks to get things set up, so it’s best to start the process early. Staying in a cold, dark apartment is no way to start your life in your new place.
Appointments: Determine if you need to be present when the utility is turned on. If you have scheduling problems, check with your property manager to see if he or she is able to be present for the service call. Other options include taking a day off of work to deal with your utilities or setting your appointments for the weekend.
Discounts: Many companies offer deals for new customers. Moving can be expensive, so look to save where you can.
Local Utility Guides
(One month heating, electricity, gas and Internet for 2 people in a 900-square-foot apartment)
|Electric||Gas||Internet/ Phone/ Cable||Water/ Sewer|
|New York||$247||Con Edison||ConEd or National Grid, depending on where you live||Time Warner Cable and Verizon are the most common providers||NYC Department of Environmental Protection|
|Los Angeles||$154||Southern California Edison and LA Department of Water and Power||Southern California Gas Company||AT&T, Charter Communications, Frontier Communications, Time Warner Cable and Verizon||Los Angeles Department of Water and Power|
|Chicago||$238||ComEd||People’s Gas||Comcast and RCN||Chicago Department of Water Management|
|Seattle||$187||Seattle City Light||Puget Sound Energy
(District Heating: Seattle Steam Company)
|CenturyLink, Comcast and Wave Broadband||Seattle Public Utilities|
|Atlanta||$254||Georgia Power||Georgia Natural Gas, Gas South, SCANA Energy, Commerce Energy and Infinite Energy||Comcast and AT&T are the most common providers||Atlanta Department of Watershed Management|
|Houston||$209||CenterPoint Energy, Reliant Energy and TXU||CenterPoint Energy||Comcast and AT&T||City of Houston Department of Public Works and Engineering|
- Don’t forget to stop utility service at your old apartment. You definitely don’t want to be paying for utilities in an apartment you’re not living in.
- Also, don’t forget to get your mail forwarded to your new apartment. In order to stay on top of any notices about your utilities, you’ll need to be sure you’re getting all your mail. Thankfully, you don’t need to go to the post office anymore because you can change your address online.
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from Apartment Living Blog https://www.forrent.com/blog/tips/ultimate-checklist-apartment-utilities/