When you think of moving, the first thing that comes to mind is decluttering, packing, and the actual process of moving. If you had to list down some to-dos, you’d also include things like changing your addresses.

In the middle of the chaos that moving brings, a lot of us tend to push a very important job aside, which is setting up home services and utilities. While most of us have them in the back of our heads, we leave them till the end which only adds to the chaos.

To help you sort through the number of utilities you have to get in order for your new home so that you’re not left without water or electricity, we’ve prepared a concise guide for you below. But first, let’s look at what these utilities are.

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What Does Utilities Include?

Utilities usually include electricity, natural gas, cable, and internet, water and sewer service, and picking up trash. However, when you live on a rental property, your landlord might be responsible for providing some of these utilities as part of the lease agreement.

So, whether you’re moving to a house you’ve bought or a rental apartment, we’d suggest you first find out which utilities or home services you’ll actually be needing. It is possible that you won’t need cable anymore, or you want your internet speed to be higher than what it was previously. It is also possible that providing heating is not a part of your lease and you might have to make arrangements for it yourself.

Most landlords also include heating as part of the electricity or natural gas, so make sure that you talk about the same with your landlord if it’s not mentioned on your lease. If the place you’re renting is a part of the Home Owner’s Association (HOA), then the fees of these utilities will be included in your monthly rent.

See also: Things to Prepare when Moving to a New Home

Guide To Setting Up Utilities

Once you have an idea of the utilities you’ll be needing for your new home, it’s now time to go ahead with the process of making arrangements to set these up. If you think you can start the process of setting up after you move, then you’re in for days if not weeks of chaos.

As a rule of thumb, it’s always best to start the process at least three to four weeks in advance so that when you move, you have functioning utilities. You don’t want to be running around trying to get hot water or better heating, especially not in the initial days of your move!

1. Make A Note Of Current And Potential Utility Providers

The first step to setting up your utilities is figuring out who provides those services to you currently. If you’re wondering how this comes into play – there’s a huge possibility that your current service providers also provide utility services in your new neighborhood. If that’s the case, you’ll be saving a lot of time and effort when you move.

Make a list of all your current service providers, from the one that provides your internet to the one that ensures you have running water. If you’re currently living on rent, you can contact your landlord for details of the service providers. Usually, you’ll have only one utility provider who gives you several services.

We suggest that you also take this time to figure out who your potential utility service providers might be. Setting up utility services might take weeks, which is why it’s essential that you do this well in advance.

In a scenario where your current utility provider does not have a branch in the place you’re moving to, you’ll need to contact other utility providers. You can visit the city or county website of your new home where you’ll most probably find the names and contact details of the utility providers you’re looking for. If you’re renting, you can also contact your new landlord for details of the same.

2. Time To Contact Current Utility Providers

Now that you have the names and contact details of your current utility and home service providers, it’s time to give them a call.  When you call, inform them that you’ll be moving and ask them if they’ll be able to provide the same facilities in your new place of residence.

This can go either way:

Transfer

If your current utility providers can provide the services in your new place of residence, then all that has to be done is the transferring of these services there, which the providers take care of themselves. All you have to do is ask if there will be a difference in the price and give them your new address and the date by which you want these services to start.

Note: You’ll most probably be charged with a transfer fee for the transferring of these utilities so don’t forget to confirm the same with your service provider.

Cancel

If your current utility provider cannot provide these services at your new address, then you’ll have to ask for a shutdown of the services. You’ll also be required to give your current address and the date from which you require for the services to be discontinued.

If you had to go with the second option and you’ve already started looking for new service providers, it’s time to make picks!

3. Choose Your New Service Providers

As we suggested you do, you might have already made a list of potential utility or home service providers in your new area of residence. If you’ve not done that already, it’s best to do it as soon as possible. Apart from talking to your new landlord and looking at the city or county website for information, you can also talk to your to-be neighbors for suggestions.

There’s a possibility that you might score a utility provider that gives great services and great discounts too! Talking to your neighbors who have lived in the area for a while will also help you get a clear perspective on the problems that might arise when you select one utility provider over another, which you might not get on online review platforms.

When it comes to choosing a new service provider for the potential picks, ask the following questions:

  • What are the service costs?
  • Will the company provide any discounts?
  • How much time will it take to set the utilities in the new house?
  • Does the company charge aviation fees?
  • Do you need to be present when the utilities are being set up?
  • How does their payment process work?
  • If you need a service set up by a certain date, can that be done?

Based on the answers you get, you can make a comparison between your top utility providers and pick one that agrees with your needs best! If you’re a senior citizen, a student, or if you’re an active-duty military personnel, you should ask the utility providers for a discount which most of them will definitely have.

Tip: Negotiate the costs with your utility providers if it’s not a fixed rate because they will most likely budge and grant you a fee reduction.

4. Setting Up Your Utilities

Once you’ve made a decision on which utility provider you want to go with for all your home services and spoken to them, it’s time to make the application to set these up. Most utility service providers give you the option to apply and make a payment online itself, so the first thing you should do is visit your utility provider’s website.

As mentioned previously, you’ll also be asked for a date from which you’d like the services to start, and your exact address. Some service providers also require you to pay a security deposit if you’re a new resident which will be returned to you once you start paying your bills regularly. If you don’t know how to set up utilities like the cable and internet by yourself, you can call them to do it for you.

Note: If you’re staying at a rental property, your landlord might require you to set up your utilities before you move, so we suggest that you ask your landlord about the same.

5. Checking If Your Utilities Work

This step takes place after you’ve moved, and if the place you’re moving to is close by, we strongly recommend that you do carry this step out a day before your moving day. You don’t want to move and then find out that there’s no water or electricity even though you’ve spoken to your utility provider and paid a security deposit!

Start by switching your lights on and turning your taps to see if there’s electricity and water. Do other things like turning on the stove, connecting to the internet, and flushing the toilet. If any of this doesn’t work, contact your utility provider right away.

A day before you move from your current place of residence, you should also check if your utilities there have been canceled. Thoroughly check your accounts with them to see a confirmation of cancellation because you don’t want to continue to get billed. If you don’t see this information, talk to your utility provider right away.

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What About Utility Bills?

When you move, your current utility providers will charge you for their services till the day you move. You will then be sent this bill and it’s important that you check the dates mentioned on the bill correctly because it’s possible that you’ve been billed for the days even after you moved.

With your new utility providers, we suggest you find out when their billing cycles start and end even if you’ve set an automated payment method. Pay your bills on time so that it doesn’t affect your credit score in a negative manner.

See also: Utility Bills 101

Conclusion

Planning and organization make everything easier and when you apply them to something as strenuous as moving, your experience will be relaxed and positive. Plan to get your utilities set up in advance so that you can concentrate on other matters related to moving. We hope our guide to setting up utilities in your new home gives you some idea of how the process can be taken care of. Happy moving!

FAQs

What are the first utilities to be installed?

Usually, lines for gas and waste will be installed first which will include sewage pipes and venting. If your home has a complex HVAC system then that will be installed first.

Can you set up utilities before moving in?

Yes, as we mentioned in the article, you should be setting up your utilities way in advance so that they are up and running as soon as you move. We suggest that you get the process started at least two weeks in advance because your utility service providers might take anywhere between 5 to 15 days to set it up.

Is gas considered a wet utility?

No, natural gas is categorized as a dry utility along with cable, electricity, and telephone services. Remember that wet utilities always have to do with water.

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See also: First Apartment Checklist | Easy Ways to Secure Your New Home