How Do I Set Up House Utilities When I Move?

Setting up your house utilities is an easily forgotten step of moving into your new home. And leaving it too long can turn the task into a hellish hassle as you scramble on move-in day to get the central air, shower, and fridge up and running.

To streamline the process, we put together a few steps you can quickly follow to set up your new home utilities. We’ll also cover everything you need to know about each utility type.

Setting up your home utilities: What you need to do

There’s a lot to think about when you’re in the middle of a move, so here’s a quick utility setup checklist to get you started. We’ll cover each step in more detail below.

  • Create a checklist
  • Notify existing utility companies you’re leaving
  • Set up utilities at your new place

Step 1: Create a moving utilities checklist

Put together a list of all utilities that need to be turned on at your new home, as well as your existing utilities, which will need to be shut off when the big day comes. You’ll want to include contact info for your utility providers (new and old) and your exact move-in and move-out date.

Step 2: Contact your existing utility providers

Next, call all your current utility providers and tell them your intended moving day. Be sure to do this in advance in order to avoid any fees or penalties.

Bullhorn

Pro tip

Pro tip

Ask your electricity provider to leave the power on for 48 hours after you move out. This way, you’ll have power when you go back to pick up those last few boxes.

Step 3: Contact your new utility providers

Lastly, call your new utility providers and communicate your intended move-in day. You may want to ask your new providers some questions at this point:

  • How long will setup/installation take?
  • How much notice do you need to get the utilities up and running on time?
  • Do I need to be present during install or activation?
  • Are there activation fees I need to be aware of?
  • What can I expect to pay each month?

Plan ahead by at least two weeks and schedule your utilities to be on and in your name the day after you get your keys. This way everything will be there when you need it but you’ll avoid paying for utilities before your new home is yours.

Electricity and gas

When it comes to electric and gas utilities, you’re typically faced with one of two scenarios: a regulated market or a deregulated market.

If you’re moving to an area with a deregulated market, you’ll have to research your options to find the best value for what your needs. Ask your property manager if they have a preferred provider; that can save you some time in your research.

Little pin

FYI

FYI

In a deregulated market, utilities like gas and electricity come from private companies, meaning there’s more market competition. More competition gives you more choices and lower costs.

How to set up electricity and gas

Try to plan ahead by at least two weeks. Schedule the lights and gas to be switch over to you on the day after your lease starts or you take ownership. You’ll be glad to have power and gas while you’re moving in, cleaning, or making any necessary repairs.

Water

Culinary water is what you will drink, cook, and shower with, although hopefully not simultaneously—no matter how easy it is to make radish roses in the shower.

Culinary water is found both in and out of your home. If the faucet is outside your home but it’s coming through a wall or sticking out of your foundation, it is most likely culinary. Culinary water is metered, and you’ll pay by the gallon for your monthly water usage.

Fun Fact Badge

Fun fact

Fun fact

Some locations have culinary and secondary water. Secondary water is typically derived from non-potable sources and is used for watering landscaping and gardens.

How to set up water

Ask the previous owners, your new neighbors, or your realtor about the water provider for your new property—or do a quick online search.

Once you determine who to call, you’ll want to ask the provider whether you have both culinary and secondary water or if it’s only culinary, and what the process is to have the water turned back on in your name. You won’t need to be present when the water is turned on; this will likely be handled by your initial phone call.

TV and internet

There are plenty of cable and satellite providers that will let Real Housewives of Orange County stream out of your television as easily as water flows out of your faucet. The only limiting factor may be your location.

Cable TV

Cable is typically delivered to your television through in-ground…well…cables—hence the name. Since they’re underground, the cables are less likely to be affected by weather. Additionally, cable requires less equipment to install, but it may not be available in rural areas.

Satellite TV

In the countryside, satellite may be the clear winner for you, because cable is not always available in rural areas. And generally speaking, satellite may be a more cost-effective option compared to cable.

Internet

Whichever TV option is best for you, either satellite or cable, will also likely be best for your internet needs.

As a matter of convenience, it makes sense to have the company that delivers your TV entertainment also provide your internet. This way you have one installation, one company to service you, and one bill to pay.
This is called bundling, and it can often save you money: many cable and satellite companies offer deep discounts if you bundle your internet and TV.

How to set up TV and internet

Before choosing a package, do some research to determine how much internet speed you need. Account for how many people live in your house, how many devices will be used at once, and how much content you and your family stream. If you’re on the fence between two packages, opt for the faster one—it’s better to have too much internet speed than not enough.

You’ll also want to decide which television channels you must have so you can research the cheapest bundles that include your favorite channels and a sufficiently fast internet connection. The table below lays out some bundles that give you the best value.

DIRECTTVU-Verse TV and AT&TDISH Network
Service providerDIRECTVAT&T Plans and PricingDISH Pricing and Plans
Plan selectionView PlansView PlansView Plans
Service provider
Plan selection
DIRECTTV U-Verse TV and AT&T DISH Network
DIRECTV AT&T Plans and Pricing DISH Pricing and Plans
View Plans View Plans View Plans

Share your tips

Got more tips for making utility setup a breeze in your new home? Share them with the readers in the comments!

About Dalan Siler

Dalan Siler
Before Move.org, Dalan was a technical writer whose clients included one of the nation’s largest health systems. He’s passionate about helping people and hopes to make your next move a little easier.