Utility Bills: How to Estimate Costs for a New Home

pile of money to pay utility bills
pile of money to pay utility bills

After a winter like the one we've just had, a lot of people are fed up with utility bills. The most recent forecasts from the U.S. Energy Information Administration put the cost of home heating for 2011 at $2,400 if you heat with oil--a 26% increase over last year. On average, U.S. households can expect to shell out about $1,000 on heating this year.

If you've owned your house for a while, you have a sense of the seasonal fluctuations in utility bills. But what if you're moving into a new home? You'll have enough change to deal with without also having to worry about a budget-busting difference in utility bills.

So before you buy, take the following steps to estimate utility costs for your new home and plan ways to shrink them by improving energy efficiency. That way, you'll be able to live a truly happy future in that new-to-you house.