The average electric bill for a three-bedroom house in the United States runs $87 to $93 per month, depending on the number of occupants. For a four-bedroom house, that number can range from $105 to $200 a month, depending on the size of the home and the number of occupants.
As you can tell, there’s more to it than just the number of bedrooms. Read on for more information on the factors that can affect your electricity costs.
How Location Affects Your Electric Bill
When it comes to electricity costs, your location plays a big role. Electricity consumption varies by region. Additionally, utility rates are set at the local level, ranging from about 10.12 cents/kilowatt-hour (kWh) in Utah to around 32.81 cents/kWh in Hawaii.
As a result, where you live has a major impact on your potential cost. Here’s a quick overview of the average monthly electric bill in every United States region:
- East North Central – $102.40
- East South Central – $134.81
- Middle Atlantic – $107.89
- Mountain – $98.94
- New England – $126.65
- Pacific Contiguous – $100.52
- Pacific Noncontiguous – $151.94
- South Atlantic – $130.04
- West North Central – $110.09
- West South Central – $128.17
Those averages can actually give you a solid understanding of what an electricity bill for a three- to four-bedroom looks like. Overall, about 39.1% of all households have three bedrooms, while 17% have four bedrooms. That means, in total, around 56.1% of all homes are represented within the three- to four-bedroom range, so those averages can be good starting points for estimating your energy needs.
How Heating and Cooling Affects Your Electric Bill
Heating and cooling a home have a significant impact on your electric bill. HVAC systems are often expensive to operate, even if they are reasonably energy efficient. As a result, if you live in a region with frigid winters, scorching summers, or both, your energy use may exceed what you’d pay in more temperate areas.
For example, a typical central AC system uses around 3.5 kW per hour. For a single 12,000 BTU window AC, the usage rate is about 1.2 kW per hour. If you run three similarly sized window units, your total consumption could come up to 3.6 kW per hour.
That amount of usage adds up fast. Even if your per kWh cost is on the low-end, such as the 10.12 cents/kWh rate in Utah, simply cooling a house could add up to around $2.90 to $8.74 in electricity expenses per day if your AC runs the full 24 hours daily.
How Appliance Usage Affects Your Electric Bill
Energy bills are based on usage, not flat rates. As a result, using an appliance has a direct impact on your costs.
Every appliance draws a different amount of power when in use. For example, using an electric clothes dryer may use 2.5 to 4.0 kWh per load, while running a load through the washing machine on hot with a warm rinse comes in at 6.3 kWh per load. If you do more laundry than an average household, your bill will be higher than local averages.
The kind of appliances you have also matter. If you only have Energy Star-rated appliances, devices, and electronics, you can save up to 30% on your electric bills in comparison to using only non-Energy Star-rated products.
How Other Utilities Affect Your Electric Bill
As mentioned above, some of the information about average electric bills is based on households that also have other sources of energy in their home. Gas stoves and gas water heaters are the most common examples of using the alternatives. However, many homes have propane fireplaces as sources of heat, creating another point where their energy use may change.
If your home also uses natural gas or propane, then your electric bill will be lower than a household that’s entirely electric. Usually, natural gas and propane prices are lower than the electricity costs associated with similar operations or tasks. In homes with all gas appliances, the total savings can be up to 30%.
However, as with electricity rates, natural gas and propane rates also vary. If you’re considering switching to an alternative energy resource to save money, you’ll want to explore local costs in-depth to determine if you’d come out ahead.
How Number of Occupants Affects Your Electric Bill
The number of people in the property, the amount of time a resident spends at home, and the activities they do while there all alter your electric bills. In a three-bedroom house, the price difference for having three instead of two occupants comes in at $6 per month, based on national averages. That difference is simply based on more people being active in the space.
However, how a person spends their time in the house and the number of hours they are there also play a role in the total electric costs. For example, during the pandemic, many professionals began working from home instead of going to the office each day. As a result, their energy bills rose, in some cases, by $40 to $50 a month.
One reason for the cost increase was being in the house more often. They may interact with more appliances or systems, or might change their thermostat to a more comfortable temperature, putting extra strain on their HVAC system.
But that wasn’t the only factor. In many cases, working from home meant introducing a company computer to the home environment. Additionally, that device would be used heavily throughout the workday and, when not in use, would be on standby, drawing small amounts of power even when idle.
Even one device that’s on consistently can impact power consumption significantly. Couple that with more activity in the house, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that bills rose.
Ultimately, the average electric bills for three- to four-bedroom homes are only one part of a larger picture. While you can use them as a baseline, you also need to consider the other factors. That way, you can fully prepare for the costs of running your home, ensuring there aren’t any unnecessary surprises.