FAQs

Welcome to our FAQs section. You’ll find answers to the questions our customer services team are often asked – simply select the question you’re interested in to reveal the answer.

 

About us

What services does SES Home Services offer?
• SES Home Services is a division of the water company, which supplies customers in East Surrey, and parts of West Sussex, West Kent and South London.

 

Whether you’re having trouble with your plumbing or drainage, need assistance with a central heating problem, or are considering a new bathroom or solar solution, SES Home Services has the expertise and experience to help.

 

The company also provides a range of annual cover schemes for plumbing, drainage and central heating cover schemes.

 

How is SES Home Services regulated?
• SES Home Services is regulated by the following:

Gas Safe Register

Gas Safe Register is the official body for gas safety in Great Britain and the Isle of Man. This means that if you require a gas engineer to carry out work on your property, by law they must be a Gas Safe Register listed engineer. For more information about the Gas Safe Register, please visit http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/

Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC)

The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) is the leading trade Association for the Plumbing and Heating industry in England and Wales. It provides valuable business services to its members in the plumbing and heating industry. For more information about the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC), please visit http://www.competentpersonsscheme.co.uk/

Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE)

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) is the professional body for the UK plumbing and heating industry. The CIPHE has a membership of around 12,000 including approximately 260 manufacturers and distributors, which support its work as Industrial Associates. Suitably qualified CIPHE members also enrolled as Registered Plumbers, are recognised by the Secretary of State, DEFRA, as “Approved Contractor Persons” under the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 in England and Wales and the Water Bylaws (Scotland) 2000.For more information about the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), please visit http://www.ciphe.org.uk/

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is an independent non-governmental body, given statutory powers by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. It is limited by guarantee and financed by the financial services industry.The FCA’s aim is to promote efficient, orderly and fair financial markets and help ensure all retail financial service consumers get a fair deal. It currently regulates over 29,000 companies with a diverse range of sizes and activities and it publishes a single handbook of rules and guidance for all authorised firms carrying out business in the UK.

 

For General Insurance purposes only, SES Home Services is an appointed representative of Kingsbridge Risk Solutions Limited. Kingsbridge Risk Solutions Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and entered on its register under number 309149.  These policies are underwritten by DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Company Limited. DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Company Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and entered on the register under number 202106. For more information about the Financial Conduct Authority, please visit http://www.fca.org.uk.

 

How can we help if you have a complaint?
• If you wish to register a complaint please contact us:

 

In writing

 

The Customer Service Manager,
SES Home Services,
66-74 London Road,
Redhill, 
Surrey, 
RH1 1LJ

Telephone – 020 8722 7004

 

Should the matter not be resolved to your satisfaction, please contact:

 

In writing

 

Kingsbridge Risk Solutions Limited
9 Miller Court
Severn Drive
Tewkesbury Business Park
Tewkesbury
Gloucestershire GL20 8DN

Telephone – 01386 725900

 

Complaints that cannot be resolved after 8 weeks by Kingsbridge Risk Solutions Limited may be referred to:

 

In writing

 

The Financial Ombudsman Service,
South Quay Plaza,
183 Marsh Wall,
London E14 9SR

 

Telephone – 0800 023 4 567

 

Plumbing Tips & FAQs

Got a question about plumbing?

Find the answer here…

Is SES Home Services a member of a trade body?
• We’re proud members of the two leading trade bodies:

Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC)

The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) is the leading trade Association for the Plumbing and Heating industry in England and Wales. Find out more at http://www.competentpersonsscheme.co.uk/

Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE)

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) is the professional body for the UK plumbing and heating industry. Find out more at http://www.ciphe.org.uk/

What do I do if my water pipes freeze or burst?
• Plumbing emergencies such as burst and frozen pipes do happen, and the best thing you can do is call for a plumber as soon as possible. While you wait for professional help, the following steps can help minimise damage:

Frozen pipes

When thawing or repairing burst water pipes, safety is the greatest concern. The first important step is to turn off the mains water supply at the stop-valve and ensure that the boiler is switched off. Some basic steps can be taken to minimise the damage including carrying out visual pipe checks where possible and moving any belongings that might be damaged when the pipe thaws. It’s best to let nature take its course so switch it all off and wait for things to warm up.

PLEASE REMEMBER – although taking this advice will help stabilise the problem, an expert is still needed to fix the problem securely. For your own peace of mind, get an expert in to trace all the pipework for splits. Otherwise, when the weather warms up and your pipes thaw, you may have a costly water leak to deal with.

Burst pipes

When a pipe bursts, the first thing you will need to do is prevent the water passing the point of the leak. You can do this by turning off all the stop-valves and opening all cold water taps so that the pipe work and storage system drain quickly.You will also need to switch off the central heating, immersion heater and any other water heating you may have. If water has leaked near your electrics or electrical goods, switch them off at the mains and don’t touch them until they have been checked over by a fully qualified electrician.

If my sink, basin or bath waste is draining away slowly, what can I do?
• Slow running drains are usually indicative of a partial blockage, so the first step is to find the obstruction. In baths and showers, the problem is normally due to the build up of hair and soap scum. If you see hair in the bottom of the drain, you might be able to simply reach in and pull out the blockage. Alternatively, you should use a pair of tweezers or pliers.

If you can’t find the obstruction, it’s time to call in the professionals – visit our drainage page for more information.

You can avoid obstructions building up in the first place by taking the following steps:

– Use strainers in all your drains to stop hair from going down the drain.
– Don’t drop small pieces of soap down the drain. This causes soap scum to build up in drains and pipes.
– Once a month, pour a kettle full of boiling water down the drain. This will help melt any greases or oils and wash them away before they can build up (do not do this for your toilet, as the hot water may crack the porcelain).
– Every three to four months use a half-cup of baking soda in the drain while slowly adding half a cup of vinegar. Let the liquid drain for a few minutes before rinsing with hot water.

What should I do if water is leaking through my ceiling?
• Water leaks in any home can cause lots of damage, from rotting wood to peeling paint. Mould thrives in moist environments, so it is important to find the cause of the leak as soon as possible to prevent further damage being caused.

If you notice a water leak, catch the drips in a bucket. Remember to move all valuables away from the water damage. If the ceiling begins to bulge, punch a small hole in the ceiling to let the water drain out. This can prevent the ceiling from collapsing.

In the meantime, call a plumber to get to the root of the problem as soon as you can – water damage can get structural quicker than you might imagine, so it makes financial sense to address the situation promptly.

My toilet cistern is overflowing – what should I do?
• An overflowing cistern is usually due to one of three possible causes:

– Water levels may be too high
– The ball-valve may be damaged
– The washer may be worn out.

You can easily determine the real problem behind the overflow by checking the water level in the cistern.If the water level is too high, you will need to bring the water down to the level indicated within the cistern. Simply adjust the screw on the valve and washer assembly, until the level of water has fallen. If the ball float is damaged or the washer is worn out, you will need to replace the broken part with a new one. However, remember to turn off your water supply before starting on any home repairs.

If you aren’t confident fixing the problem yourself, why not consider getting our plumbing team in to help?

Who is responsible for water supply pipes – me or the water company?
• You may not know it, but the water supply pipe that runs to your home is your responsibility. Below are some of the most popular questions and answers relating to water supply pipes, who’s responsible and what to do in the event of a problem.

I share a supply pipe, what am I responsible for?
• The supply pipe is the pipe coming from the principle stop-valve into your property. Most modern houses have an independent water supply pipe into the property, which is the householder’s responsibility. In older properties, there may be a shared supply pipe for one or more properties. You are responsible for leaks and the maintenance of this pipe. If the pipe is shared, so is the responsibility.

Is it my responsibility to check for my supply pipe for leaks?
• Yes it is. You are responsible for maintaining the underground water supply pipe from the boundary of your property into your home. We recommend that, if you have a meter, you take regular readings to check for possible leaks.

How can I tell if I have a leak in my supply pipe?
• There are tell-tale signs that give supply pipe leaks away. If your water pressure is slow, your garden is waterlogged or your meter reading is much higher than you’d expect, then you may have a leak in your supply pipe.If you think you have a leak and you have an external water meter, you can do a simple test by turning off the inside stop-valve of your property, opening the external meter and taking a reading. Then leave the stop-valve closed and do not use the water for at least 30 minutes. Check the meter again – if there has been an increase in the reading it is likely that you have a leak.

 

What problems can a leaking supply pipe cause?
• A leaking supply pipe can cause many serious problems including: damp weakened foundations and subsidence, waterlogged gardens, damage to driveways, valuable water wastage and metered bill increase.

What can I do to stop the leak?
• As the leak is underground and on a high pressure pipe it requires specialists to fix the problem. If it is a major burst, you can turn off the water at the outside stop-valve to reduce the loss of water until help arrives.

Drainage Tips & FAQs

Is SES Home Services a member of a trade body?
• We’re proud members of the two leading trade bodies:

Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC)

The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) is the leading trade Association for the Plumbing and Heating industry in England and Wales. Find out more at http://www.competentpersonsscheme.co.uk

Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE)

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) is the professional body for the UK plumbing and heating industry. Find out more at http://www.ciphe.org.uk/
• If my sink, basin or bath waste is draining away slowly, what can I do?
• Slow running drains are usually indicative of a partial blockage, so the first step is to find the obstruction. In baths and showers, the problem is normally due to the build up of hair and soap scum. If you see hair in the bottom of the drain, you might be able to simply reach in and pull out the blockage. Alternatively, you should use a pair of tweezers or pliers. If you can’t find the obstruction, it’s time to call in the professionals.

You can avoid obstructions building up in the first place by taking the following steps:
– Use strainers in all your drains to stop hair from going down the drain
– Don’t drop small pieces of soap down the drain. This causes soap scum to build up in drains and pipes
– Once a month, pour a kettle full of boiling water down the drain. This will help melt any greases or oils and wash them away before they can build up (do not do this for your toilet, as the hot water may crack the porcelain)
– Every three to four months use a half-cup of baking soda in the drain while slowly adding half a cup of vinegar. Let the liquid drain for a few minutes before rinsing with hot water.
• What is the best way to unblock a clogged drain?
• If you can see what is causing the problem, it may be easy to fix. However, if you can’t see what is causing the problem, the next option is to try plunging the drain. Some people think that using chemicals to clear a drain is an option. However, it is important to remember that such chemicals are highly caustic, often poisonous and are damaging to the environment.

For most blockages, we will be able to use a ‘snake’, a long flexible steel cable wound on a handle. The ‘snake’ will either break up the obstruction by pushing its way through, or it will hood the end of the ‘snake’ onto whatever’s clogging the drain, so your plumber can pull it out. We may need to repeat this process a couple of times to get the drain cleared out, since some clogs are more persistent than others. Other unblocking methods include high-pressure jetting.

Gas Central Heating Tips & FAQs

Got a question about gas central heating and boilers?

Are SES Home Services gas and central heating engineers regulated?
• Yes, all our engineers are on the Gas Safe Register. The Gas Safe Register is the official body for gas safety in Great Britain and the Isle of Man – it replaces CORGI. If you’re looking for a gas engineer to carry out work on your property, always make sure they are Gas Safe Register listed – it’s illegal for an unlisted person to carry out repairs or boiler installations. Find out more at http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/

I can smell gas leaking – what should I do?
• If you can smell gas leaking:
– Turn off the gas lever at the mains
– Do not operate any electrical equipment, use any light switches or use a mobile phone
– Open windows and put out any cigarettes or naked flames.
– Treat the suspected gas leak as REAL until further notice.
– Avoid any rooms with a strong smell of gas and call the National Grid on 0800 111 999 for professional help.

A National Grid agent will ask you to report all the appropriate details, including how many people are at the property, how long the smell has been noticeable and whether any neighbours have been affected. Once all the information has been gathered, it will be sent electronically to a National Grid engineer for action.Following the leak, all electrical appliances (e.g. cookers, boilers or fires) will need to be checked by a Gas Safe Registered engineer to ensure they are safe to use.

How often should I replace my gas boiler?
• A boiler should last up to 15 years, with regular inspections and servicing. Over one million boilers are replaced each year within the UK. According to the Energy Saving Trust (www.est.org.uk), the average domestic boiler is only 70 per cent efficient. Even then, after a decade of use, this efficiency is dramatically reduced.

What type of boiler do you recommend?
• This depends on the needs of your household. Now you have a choice between a combination boiler, which provides heating and hot water on demand, or a conventional boiler, which operates the central heating, but has a separate cylinder for hot water storage.

Combination boilers can provide a continuous flow of hot water, require less space and avoid heating water unnecessarily, but are less suitable for houses where there are simultaneous demands on the hot water, such as multiple bathrooms or showers, or where there is poor mains water pressure.

Conventional heat-only boilers take up more space than a combination system – as they include a feed and expansion tank and a cylinder, but they are able to provide hot water to several sources at once and are more suitable for larger houses.

What features should I look for in a boiler?
• To make sure that your boiler is correctly sized for your property, consider the following questions:

– How many radiators do you have?
– How many bathrooms do you have?
– How many rooms are in the house?
– Do you have double-glazing?
– How much heat does your home lose?
– Are you planning to build an extension to your house?

A Gas Safe Registered listed installer will be able to help assess your answers to these questions and determine the type of boiler most suited for your property.

 

How can I find a trustworthy installer (fitter or engineer)?
• Your boiler must be installed by a Gas Safe Registered listed installer. Installers must carry their ID cards with them. This will list the gas work they are certified to carry out. You should always check that the person who comes out to see you is qualified to carry out the work you require.

What about the CORGI scheme – don’t gas fitters need to be CORGI-registered?
• CORGI gas registration is no longer valid or recognised in Great Britain and the Isle of Man. To work legally on gas appliances and installations you must be on the Gas Safe Register (GSR). Look out for the GSR logo, or alternatively visit the Gas Safe Register website to find your nearest accredited installer.