Where are the highest utility bills in the country?

No matter where you go across the U.S., homeowners are searching for ways to save a few dollars here and there. You can blame the economy, the weather or anything else, but the fact remains that utility prices have been creeping upward for a long time. Traditional home maintenance and improvement projects may not be enough to offset the rising cost of gas, water and electricity bills.

Though you might be in love with living in the city or have a beautiful house on the coast, utility prices are largely dictated by where you are. Some homeowners might not even know that they're paying more than their peers in a less densely populated part of the country, which makes it even more important that you switch to gas or electric tankless water heaters to get a little cash back from exorbitant monthly bills.

Rising tide of water prices
Though every water heater also uses either gas or electric power to operate, the majority of costs come from the water you use. However, a study conducted by USA TODAY found that utility companies are charging more for water across the country with some locations paying twice what they did a decade ago.

Atlanta residents were hit the hardest, as their water bills increased a staggering 233 percent when compared to rates from 2000. San Francisco experienced a similar 211 percent bump. This spike in water prices hasn't been limited to urban areas, though. Mid-sized cities like Portland, Oreg. and Wichita, Kan. saw prices rise by more than 150 percent. Even residents in rural Sioux Falls, S.D. now pay 140 percent more than they did 12 years ago.

"I don't know how they expect people to keep paying more for water with the cost of gas and day care and everything else going up," Jacquelyn Moncrief, who now pays 164 percent higher water bills in Philadelphia, told USA TODAY.

Watching gas and electric 
Unfortunately for cash-strapped homeowners, heaters can't run on water alone. That means you have to contend not only with rising water prices, but gas and electric rates that may wildly fluctuate based on location, international resources and even the current season.

Utility Dive reported that residential electricity has roughly doubled since 2001, where it sat at $0.0725 per kilowatt-hour. As of May 2014, homeowners pay an average of $0.1284 per KwH. If these costs don't seem so bad, the source explained that environmental regulations, efforts to update the nation's electrical grid infrastructure and inherent inefficiencies in the established system will all combine to drive electricity prices upward in the coming years.

Traditionally, expensive gas is often the most affordable of all the utilities that go into heating your home – and that's saying something. The U.S. Energy Information Administration explained that the winter of 2013 brought with it some of the highest natural gas prices the country has seen. While the upcoming winter might see a 5 percent decline in prices, if temperatures dip just 10 percent below the current forecast, you'll be paying 6 percent more than last year to heat your home.

Saving money
Homeowners can't control utility costs, but they do have a say in how much water, electricity and gas they use. While the startup costs for gas or electric tankless water heaters may be high, you use much less water and gas or electricity. As utility prices continue to rise, buy a tankless water heater now before home heating costs catch up to your budget.

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