When you rent an apartment, there are some additional costs to consider. Even if you get a great deal on rent itself, you could end up paying more than you think in utilities. Here are a few ways to tell whether the utility bills may be higher than average.

Ask To See an Average of Bills

First, the most direct way to calculate this is to ask if the landlord can give you a 12 month average of the utility bills. Most landlords will be willing to do this, but some may not have the information at hand.

Inquire About the Water Heater

You should ask about the water heater's age and whether it's a gas or electric heater. In most scenarios, a gas heater will cost less than an electric heater, and a water heater that is older than 10 years will be less efficient. A tankless water heater is best: it heats water as you use it, rather than all the time.

Ask About the HVAC System

When it comes to HVAC systems, anything older than 20 years or so isn't likely to be energy efficient. Like water heaters, a gas furnace is usually cheaper than an electric furnace. You can also ask about whether anything has been done to improve the insulation of the apartment.

Look for Low Flow Fixtures

To reduce water use, an apartment should have low flow faucets, low flow shower heads, and low flow toilets. If the faucets or shower heads aren't water efficient, consider asking your landlord if they would reimburse you if you swap them out. Many landlords are willing to make these types of small improvements, and it can save you a lot of water long-term.

Find an Apartment with Utilities Included

It's possible to find an apartment with utilities already included, but keep in mind that's not always cheaper. You should compare an apartment with utilities all included to the local apartment costs: if it's significantly more expensive, it's likely that you're actually paying more than you would be otherwise. When you pay your own utility bills, you can at least take action to reduce waste to reduce your costs. 

There are a lot of things to consider when looking at apartments for rent. In addition to utilities, consider your renter's insurance: it may differ based on location. Once you tally up your utilities and your rent, then you'll know how much you're truly paying for your monthly housing.