In Boulder Property Management’s apartment complexes, utilities are billed directly to the renter. Always discuss utility payments with a landlord before you move in. Get an idea of what the average utility rate throughout the complex is and what you should expect each month. For example, in the Boulder, Colorado area, you can expect to pay more for your electricity in the cold winter months, since you’ll need to keep your apartment temperature comfortable throughout the winter. By asking those questions ahead of time, you can plan to factor your utilities into your budget.
Your utility payments will vary from one month to the next based on how much of that service you use each month. Whether it’s electricity, water, or gas, the company has a meter installed that will track how much of a specific resource you use each month. Colorado residents have an average electric bill of about $81 per month, which is more than 24% lower than the national average. Your bill, however, will be based on your specific usage.
Cable, Phone, and Internet
Many people choose to forego cable and phone to their apartments to help decrease their overall costs, especially if they’re students at University of Colorado Boulder. The Internet, however, often proves much more necessary, especially if you’re a student who will need to access online resources from home. These services typically do not bill based on usage; instead, you’ll pay a monthly fee for those services.
Setting Up Your Utilities
When you move into your apartment, you will need to transfer your utilities to your name. In most apartment complexes, the utilities will transfer to the apartment’s account when the last renter moves out. The apartment complex will want to keep the lights on and water running while the apartment is shown to potential renters. You will, however, need to transfer those utilities to your name when you take over the apartment. Ask your complex manager who provides the utilities for the apartment complex, then contact each one: gas, if it’s provided in your apartment; electricity; water; and internet, cable, and/or phone services. You will need to:
Provide evidence that you are renting the apartment. A copy of your rental agreement will let the utility company know that the apartment is yours for the duration.
Be prepared to pay a deposit for your services. You may need to pay a deposit when you first take over utility services for your apartment. Utility companies usually base their deposits on your credit report and your past history with other companies. If you have never had utilities in your name before–a common condition for many students renting their first apartment–you may need to pay a higher deposit than if you have an established history of making those deposits on time.
Look into what internet and cable services are available in your area. Ask the apartment manager about what services are already hooked up in the apartment complex. In some areas, you may have a choice of internet or cable providers. Other complexes may use a single provider. Even if you have a choice of providers in the area, you may want to consider which ones are hooked up in the apartment complex or in your specific apartment already, since you may pay higher fees to bring in new services.
Saving Money on Your Utilities
Utilities can leave many renters, especially new renters, with a sense of sticker shock. Fortunately, you can utilize several strategies to reduce your overall utility costs and keep your apartment cozy and comfortable in spite of those cost savings.
1. Change the temperature. Adjusting your thermostat by just one degree–up in the summer, down in the winter–can cause a 1% savings on your energy bill for every eight hours you maintain that temperature change. Consider dropping the temperature at night or during the day, when you know you will not be at home, through the winter months. You do not want to drop the temperature completely, which could leave your heating unit struggling to bring the temperature back up to normal and place unnecessary strain on the system, but you can drop it several degrees when you aren’t at home. Consider installing a smart thermostat so that the change happens automatically.
2. Pay attention to potential “vampire” energy drains. The items you leave plugged in all the time can make a big difference in your electric bill over time. Many of those items, including items like your chargers, continue to drain energy while plugged in, even when you don’t use the device in question. Go through and unplug items when they aren’t in use. You may even want to unplug your television, your coffee maker, or your microwave, especially when you know you will not be using those items for a long period of time. Avoid leaving your computer up and on when you aren’t actively using it. Those little steps can decrease your overall energy use.
3. Think through your water usage. Do not leave the water running unnecessarily. If you have a habit of taking long showers, keep in mind that the excess time in the shower can also start to drive up your water bill. When you wash the dishes, wash them quickly, without simply leaving the water running while you handle other tasks. These little steps can decrease your water usage and cause a positive impact to your water bill.
4. Take care of any problems with your apartment quickly. Little things–a leaking faucet; a bad seal around the window–can cause your utility bills to start creeping up due to energy drains. If you notice any problems in your apartment, report them so that they can be fixed promptly, rather than allowing them to continue. Not only are many problems less expensive to fix when you catch them early, they can prevent you from facing increased utility bills as a result of those errors. Are you looking for an apartment in Boulder, Colorado? Contact us today to learn more about the apartments we have available and to ask any questions about utility providers around our apartments.