Water and Sewer Billing FAQs
Q: Why are my bills so high?
A: Though there could be many reasons for a higher-than-expected water bill, here are some of the most common:
Leaks, toilets, faucets, humidifiers, pipes & joints and water cooled equipment.
- Toilets are the most common problem and should be checked regularly to make sure they are operating properly. A moderate leak can go through about 12,000 gallons in a month. Many people think that a toilet always makes noise when it leaks; this is not true. The best way to check a toilet for leaks is visually (a flashlight and food coloring are very helpful.) If the handle sticks and you have to shake it to make it stop running, there is a leak.
- Check overflow tube to make sure it is not running over all the time.
- Put a few drops of food coloring in the tank (part against the wall) and let it set for 30 to 45 minutes. If colored water seeps into the toilet bowl, the flapper is not sealing properly. This makes the toilet refill itself.
- Faucet leaks are usually obvious, but in addition to checking bathroom and kitchen sinks, be sure to check bathtubs, shower, and stationary tubs and hose connections.
- Humidifiers operate in much the same way as do toilets, but usually there is a tube which runs to a drain; check there for running water.
- Pipe & Joint leaks are obvious when they are in an open area, but can go unnoticed for a long time when they occur in a hidden area, like a crawl space, under a porch or underground.
- Water-cooled equipment, usually used in commercial operations, can be huge consumers of water even when operating properly, and then can develop leaks which amplify the usage. Consideration should be given to replacing this equipment with air-cooled devices.
Seasonal use: lawn sprinkling, car washing, swimming pools.
- Lawn Sprinkling and other irrigation can add up tremendously, anywhere from five to twenty gallons per minute. Was it hot and dry during the reading period?
- Car Washing doesn’t need to use up a lot of water; run the hose only when you’re rinsing.
- Swimming Pools: Pool size and how often the water is renewed are key factors.
Number of Occupants – Rule of Thumb – water use per person in one month:
- Each person in a household uses between three and four units of water (a unit is 100 cubic feet, which is 748 gallons). There is no hard and fast rule in this regard: people vary greatly in their habits, but this rule of thumb gives you an idea of average. Water use usually increases significantly in warmer weather because of seasonal use, but also because of increased showering and clothes washing. Other considerations: company staying over during the reading period, or when children are home from school.
- Days of service are usually 30 days, but there are times where it could be fewer or more days of service in the reading period.
Q: When is my bill being estimated?
A: If there is a problem reading your meter, a door hanger is left at your property for you to call our office to set up an appointment to correct the problem. When there is no response, our metering department starts to estimate your water bills.
Q: How can I pay my water bill?
A: There are several ways to pay your water bill:
- In person at our office located at 12805 Detroit Avenue; You can pay by cash, check or credit card in our office, or deposit a check (no cash) into our drop box which is located under the second window from our door.
- By phone with a Visa card, Master card or Discover card (Credit or Debit) by calling (216) 529-6820, Option 2.
- Bank Draft payments can be set up with our office. Call (216) 529-6820, Option 2 for more information.
- By mail; you may mail payments to our office or the PO Box listed on our bills. Your bank may also offer a bill paying program.
Q: Why are there two charges each for water & sewer on my bill?
A: When there is a Water/ Sewer rate increase, the system breaks it down and prorates the charges. It will show the old rate and new rate charges for water and sewer. You will only see this on the first month of the rates changes.
Q: Why didn’t I receive my bill this month?
A: There are three water zones in Lakewood. The bills for each zone are mailed the same day by our printer.
- First, contact our office so we can verify that we have the correct mailing address for your bills.
- Second, if the problem persists, contact your local post office to see if there is a problem on their end.
Q: Where can I get help with paying my water bill?
A: There are assistance programs to help you:
- Step Forward Today: https://www.stepforwardtoday.org/energy-assistance-programs
- Cleveland Housing Network: https://chnhousingpartners.org/utilityassistance/
- Outreach (216) 226-9339
- Youth / Lakewood Dept. of Human Services (216) 529-6870
- Lakewood Community Service Center (216) 226-6466
- First Call for Help (216) 436-2000
- Cuyahoga Co. Health & Human Service Dept. of Children & Family Services (216) 431-4500
- Veterans Service Commission-Cuyahoga County (216) 698-2621
- Consumer Protection Association (216) 881-3434
- Website for Help Site: www.211cleveland.org
Q: Who is responsible for paying the water / sewer bill in a lease situation?
A: If you are a renter, usually the landlord provides water /hot water to the tenants. But you’ll need to check your lease or rental agreement to see if you are responsible. If you have questions about your lease agreement, contact the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland at (216) 861-5955 or go to their website at: https://lasclev.org/get-help/housing/
Q: How do I qualify for Homestead Exemption?
A: You may qualify for reduced water and sewer rates under the Homestead Exemption.
- If you are the home owner, at least 65 years of age, live in the home and have income not more than $35,000.00 annually.
- If you are the home owner, and totally disabled, live in the home and have income not more than $35,000.00 annually.
You may contact our office for an application by calling (216) 529-6820, You must renew annually. Or an application is also available at: http://www.tax.ohio.gov/portals/0/forms/real_property/dte_105a.pdf
Q: What is the summer sprinkling program and how do I qualify?
A: The City of Lakewood Division of Water/WWC has adopted a Summer Residential Sprinkling Program for homeowners from July through September of each year. Residential owner-occupied homes of one, two, three and four – family units in good standing, living on the property for the past year, qualify for the program. If you participate in the program, the Division of Water/WWC will calculate your average sewer cost based on your usage from January –April. During the months of July, August and September, sewer usage above the average, will be attributed to your lawn watering and will result in an adjustment to your bill. The program will not replace the City’s current sewer exempt or sprinkler meter programs. If you signed up for our Summer Sprinkling Program in the past few years, there is no need to sign up again. You will automatically be in the program.
Click here to apply to participate in this program.
You may also contact our office for an application by calling (216) 529-6820, Option two (2). All applications must be received by May 31st.
Q: What should I do about my water service and bill if I sell my property or purchase new property?
A: Contact the Customer Service Department at (216) 529-6820, Option 2 so we can assist you. We will need your title transfer date, the name of the Title or Escrow Company and the name of the new owner.
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