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Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do to maintain water quality at home?
The easiest way to promote water quality at home is to flush your water system for 5 minutes after it has been stagnant for six hours or more. Remember, things like doing dishes, taking a shower or watering the lawn all count towards keeping your water moving.

Who is eligible to participate?
Non-metered, residential single-family and two-flat owners in the City of Chicago who are current on their water bills.

How do I sign up?
Interested homeowners click here to complete a quick and easy online registration. You can also call 3-1-1 or 312-744-4H2O to sign up. Website access is also available at any neighborhood Chicago Public Library.

What will it cost to participate?
This program is completely free of charge. The Chicago Department of Water Management (DWM) will install a meter complete with the automatic meter reading (AMR) technology in your home for free to help you save money and water.

Won’t my bill be higher once the City starts metering my water use?
Homeowners of non-metered, residential single-family or two-flat residences in the MeterSave program will receive a 7-year guarantee that their water charges won’t go higher than what they would have been if the meter had not been installed. Meters help us become more aware of how we use water. Small changes in daily practices can easily save water and money.

Do I have to be current on my water bill?
Yes, homeowners must be current on their water bill or in a payment plan to participate in the program and receive the limited time offer of a 7-year billing guarantee. For payment plan information call 312- 744-4H20 (4426) or (312-744-4420).

What kind of information do I need to provide to enroll into MeterSave Program? You need to know your account number and where your water shut-off valve or pipe is located.

What happens if the testing finds lead in my water? The vast majority of Chicago homes test below the EPA’s benchmark level for lead. In the event that your home tests over that level, the Department of Water Management will send out a sanitary engineer, a plumber and an electrician to investigate possible contributing factors and create a customized set of recommendations for you to bring the level down. Additionally, try to remember to flush your water every 6 hours, which includes flushing the toilet, taking a shower, or running the faucet.

How soon can I have a meter installed?
After you register your meter installation, you will be contacted by a DWM representative to schedule your meter installation. It should only take a few weeks to get the meter installed. Note: DWM is not responsible for damages associated with the installation of the volunteer meter. Additionally, it may be determined that your water meter needs to be installed in a vault buried in your yard instead of in your basement.

What do I need to do before the installers arrive to install the meter in my home?
Please ensure that such things as boxes, workbenches, furniture or any other items are removed from the area around your water service so that our crews can easily and quickly access and install your meter.

Once the meter is installed, DWM doesn’t have to come back. The AMR technology in your new meter allows meter readings to be transmitted via wireless radio technology to DWM vehicles as they drive by, eliminating the need for meter readings to take place inside the home.

What are the benefits of having a water meter?

  • You will be billed for water you used, not based on a formula
  • You can conserve water since you know how much you are actually using
  • Having a meter makes it possible to notify customers of possible leaks
  • Upon request we can obtain past data that is stored in the meter for up to two years. This data may be helpful to understand consumption patterns.

City of Chicago
Rahm Emanuel, Mayor
Department of Water Management Randy Conner, Commissioner
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