Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Utility Expenses - Vacant Properties (8/14/2007)

Utility expenses are a burden (expense) when a home is empty. The best solution to relieve this burden is to put a tenant in the house as quickly as possible. How much does it cost for electricity on a vacant home? During the winter the costs are usually less than $50.00/month. During the summer the air conditioning unit uses up a much greater amount of electricity. Here is what you can expect to pay this summer for electricity. Take the square footage of the home and multiply by $0.20. So a 1,000 square foot home costs about $200.00/month. A 2,000 square foot home costs about $400.00/month. This is based on a home which has a 10 to 13 SEER air conditioning unit. The SEER is the energy efficiency rating of the unit. Until last year most rental homes had units rated at 10 SEER. In 2006 the minimum SEER rating was increased to 13 SEER. What is the impact of the SEER rating on your electric expense? A home with a 20 SEER unit should use only half the electricity to cool your home, meaning your cost per square foot goes down to $0.10/sq ft/month. Another point to consider is the cost to cool (or heat) a vacant home is higher then a furnished home. This does not answer the question of why have the utilities on in vacant houses. I will save the detailed answer for another time, but the answer includes a combination of marketing issues, infrastructure maintenance and special costs imposed by certain utilities when you totally terminate service to a house. Our experience shows that paying utility expenses on a vacant house is a burden, but less costly than the alternatives.

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