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Philadelphia Apartments: Average Cost of Utilities

Posted January 25, 2012

Cost of Utilities for Philadelphia Apartments

You know how much you make per pay check, so you have a pretty good idea of how much you’re willing to pay in rent  (By the way, here is a handy calculator that will suggest how much you can afford in rent based on your annual salary). Before you start browsing current listings and scheduling showings, however, take a moment to think about utilities. That can make a BIG difference in the amount that you’re actually paying for your philly apartment.


Generally, unless the advertisement states otherwise, utilities are not included. Here’s what you need to find out initially:

  • Are utilities included? If yes, what exactly is included and what isn’t? Sometimes you’re also responsible for reimbursing the landlord for cold water, and that can be another $40 – $50 per month.
  • Does the property only have electric, or is there gas as well?
  • What type of heating/cooling system does it have? Central air or window units? Central heat or radiator heat?(the age of it matters as well. newer HVAC systems = more efficiency = lower bills for you)


It’s difficult for a philadelphia property management company or landlord to tell you exactly how much these extra utilities will cost you each month. There are a lot of factors that go into the amount of usage, and they depend on your personal habits and preferences.



  • How hot/cold do you want it to be?
  • How often do you have the unit running?
  • Do you turn it off when you’re not home? D
  • Do you have a washer and dryer included in the apartment that you use very often and have to pay for water?


The previous tenants might have had similar routines but you can’t count on it. If you are able to ask them or your landlord what the bills usually came to, by all means do… but just be wary that your bills might not be similar.



The cost will also greatly depend on the individual property. That sounds simple, but there really is a lot to consider:

  • How old is the HVAC system? Has it been recently serviced or cleaned?
  • How many floors are there? (the larger the property, the harder the system has to work to control the temperature)
  • Is it properly insulated?
  • What type of windows are there and when were they installed? For example, are they single paned or double paned? Do they have insulated glazing?


Here’s a helpful hint that a Philadelphia property inspector from US Inspect once shared with us: If it has just snowed a bit, and you’re able to have a view of the top of houses, look at how much snow is on the roof of all of them. The houses with the most snow on top have great insulation, and those with little to no snow remaining have poor insulation. The heat leaks right up out of the roof to melt the snow. Amazing info!


I’m sure there is more involved that I’m not even touching on, but you get it, right? No one can really tell you for sure what your bill will be, so you must budget accordingly. Take my own apartment that I’m renting in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood for example – I feel like it’s freezing all the time! I’m constantly turning up or readjusting the heat and it never feels right. It’s also a bi-level apartment where the living room ceiling is actually as high up as the second floor ceiling… so all of that heat is just sitting up in the empty space while I freeze on the ground. The gas bill was over $100 last month.



So clearly, no one can give you a definitive answer as to how much it will cost you per month, but you can get an estimate. To find the average utility cost for your Philadelphia rental property, you can call the utility companies directly, give them the address of the property you’re considering and they will tell you the average usage for that particular unit over time.


Electric Company: PECO  Call 1-800-494-4000

Gas Company: PGW Call 215-235-1000

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