Peak moving season has arrived. College students are on the move, families use the months off of school to get situated and better weather means smoother loading and unloading. Are you one of the many planning to change your location in the upcoming months? If so, you’ll want to consider a few things that could impact your monthly cost of electricity before you sign that apartment lease or home purchase contract.
1. Home size affects your monthly electricity price.
We all know everything is bigger in Texas. But that’s not always a good thing when it comes to where you hang your hat. The size of your living space can affect your electricity bill more than you may think.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average size of a new house built in 2020 was 2,261 square feet. That’s nearly 1,000 square feet larger than the average home size in 1960. More square footage means more space you’ll need to cool during the long, hot Texas summer. And while high ceilings may appeal to you, the bill for cooling all that air might not.
The key question to ask is not, “How much house or apartment can I afford?” It’s, “How much room do I actually need?” After that, you can estimate your average electricity bill for that amount of space. (And compare it to where you currently live.) A Goldilocks approach will help narrow it down to something not too big, not too small, but just right!
2. Appliances can impact your monthly cost of electricity.
If your new pad comes stocked with appliances like a refrigerator, dishwasher and washer/dryer, take note. Older models tend to be less efficient. Meanwhile, Energy Star-rated models can help you save on your electricity bill with their efficiency — and help you lessen your carbon footprint. For example, Energy Star dryers use about 20% less energy than similar models without the Energy Star certification.
Factoring in the energy efficiency of the large appliances that come with your new space will help give you a better idea of your monthly cost of electricity.
3. Good insulation can help you save energy every day.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that better insulation could save the typical U.S. home 15% on heating and cooling costs. That includes sealing air gaps and adding insulation in attics, floors over basements and accessible basement rim joists.
For homebuyers, have your home inspector measure the R-value of insulation in these areas. That way, you know whether this is an improvement you need to consider making.
If you’ll be renting, check for air gaps around windows and doors. If you find any issues, request that maintenance personnel seal those areas prior to your move-in date.
Whether you own or rent, take the necessary steps to ensure you’ve minimized these air escape routes to the best of your ability, so you can have the best electricity bill possible.
4. High or low, location matters.
If you’re looking at, say, a third-floor apartment, don’t forget — heat rises! It will take more energy to cool off from the sweltering Texas heat. On the flip side, if you’re renting a basement apartment or have significant living space below ground level, you can expect a cooler area. That’s great for summer, but it also may require extra heating to remain comfortable in cooler weather. Consider where you’ll be doing most of your “living” as you look for a new place, and how this might affect your energy bill.
It’s easier than ever to estimate your cost of electricity.
To find electricity for your new place, including monthly bill estimates based on your typical usage and home size, make sure to shop around to find the best plan for your lifestyle.