Month after month, whether you rent or own, your utility bills are one of the things that always creep up on you. While they’re an essential cost of living none of us can escape, residents in some cities are paying more than others. According to a recent report from Evolving Home, households in certain regions are racking up bills of nearly $5,000 a year—that’s a business-class flight from New York to Paris or a nice chunk of change that could be going toward a bathroom renovation.

The report looked across 326 of the most populated cities in America, and found the highest combined monthly statements for homes around 900 square feet came out of Newark, New Jersey. Clocking in at an average of $411.92 per month, Newark utility bills were revealed to be 75 percent higher than the rest of the U.S.. Why so high? A spokesperson from Evolving Home credits the steep numbers to the city’s location between subtropical and continental climates, creating a wide range in temperatures that substantially drives up air-conditioning consumption in the summer and heating in the winter. Other areas high on the list were Yonkers, New York ($407.76 per month), Murrieta, California ($390.77 per month), and Anchorage, Alaska ($384.01 per month). 

Because you aren’t likely to up and move for the sake of these expenses, there are a few tricks you can look into for reducing your monthly bills (and subsequently your stress levels). If you’re guilty of indulging in long, hot showers, Kohler’s new VES showerhead can help limit your water usage by up to 40 percent. Continue lightening your carbon footprint in the kitchen by investing in a certified Energy Star refrigerator that will be 9 percent more efficient than your average fridge. Or if a $4,200 appliance isn’t in your budget, get yourself a Google Nest thermostat and watch 10 to 15 percent of your heating bill disappear each month (the gadget gets a sense of your routine and cuts down on energy usage accordingly). And for anyone in the process of building from the ground up, consider a north-south–facing orientation like these Austin homeowners did; they almost never need to turn on a light during the daylight hours.


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