My apartment near UCF has utility billing. What does that mean?

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The Vue Student Housing
These apartments at The Vue have balconies with a beautiful poolside view that can be used to cool your home in the summer.

When you're searching for USF apartments for the first time, it's easy to get confused and overwhelmed with information. This is especially true if you're a freshman at the University of South Florida or you haven't lived away from home before. Luckily, apartment hunting doesn't have to be one of those skills that you learn as you go. With so many resources available to help, learning and understanding the terms and legal processes doesn't have to be so overwhelming. If you're having trouble wrapping your head around what utility billing is and how it works, then this is the place for you. By the time you're finished reading this article, you'll be equipped with all the knowledge you need to comprehend the nuances of utility bills, how to strategically navigate utility usage, and whether it's right for you.

What are utility bills?

Utility bills are additional charges along with rent to cover the cost of utilities such as electricity, heating bills, running water, and sometimes internet and WIFI. Apartments may calculate your utility bill by looking at how much of these services were used per room, or they may charge you the average use of several rooms, depending on the apartment and their policies. Students that have stayed in on-campus housing at the University of South Florida may be unfamiliar with this practice, because there is no utility bill for dorms; the utility charges are included in the rent and don't change as you use them.

How to navigate utility usage

Don't let the added complication of utility bills scare you away from apartment life; with the right strategies and a mindful use of your utilities, thrifty students in apartments near USF can save money by keeping their utility usage to a minimum. The less utilities you use, the less you pay. This means that it's advantageous to adopt strategies like doing larger loads of laundry so that you have to use the washer and dryer less often, therefore using less water and electricity to do so. In the bathroom, be mindful of how long you take in the shower to avoid wasting water, and turn the sink off while you're brushing your teeth. If you have a dishwasher, be sure to fill it completely before running it to wash as many dishes as you can in just one load. If you wash dishes by hand, use a tub so that you don't have to keep the sink running unnecessarily.

The changing weather brings even more opportunities to strategize your utility usage when it comes to air conditioning and heating bills. In the fall, consider opening your windows, patios or balconies to keep your USF apartments cool the natural way rather than running the air conditioning. Be sure to wear weather-appropriate clothes; the Florida heat will be more bearable in a tank top than in a hoodie! Additionally, in the winter when you need to stay warm, wearing more layers around the house allows you to stay cozy without having to crank up the heat. Check out this article for more tips on how to reduce your electric bill.



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