Electrical Safety For Football Season

By Krush Content,

football season

Football season is here. Whether your passions are with your high school, college, NFL, or fantasy team (or even if you’re just along for the ride for the sake of a good tailgate party), a lack of safety precaution can make your game watching experience miserable.

At Home

Keep electrical appliances away from the sink– This is one bit of advice that we all learned in childhood, but it’s so easy to forget when you’re trying to watch the game, entertain guests, refresh the food, man the grill, and listen to that Spotify playlist. Don’t put yourself in that position where your distraction gets the better of you. Keep your electrical appliances separated from water from kickoff to the final whistle.

Protect your flat screen–  protect your electronics with a surge protectorBetween our giant TVs, computers, phone chargers, lamps, fans, and everything else, we’re pumping more electricity than ever, especially on game day. This leaves our valued appliances vulnerable to power surges. Protect your valued electronics with a surge protector.

Don’t let the smoke get in your eyes–  So much electricity, so much food on the grill, so much potential for things to go up in flames. Don’t let that happen to you. Check the batteries in your smoke alarm every month to ensure your home and family are safe.

Watch those burgers–  We know, we know.  Your team’s in the red zone, trailing by four, late in the 4th quarter.  You have to see what happens, right?  But not if you have food cooking.  Stay in the kitchen (or the backyard if you’re grilling) until the food is ready, the burners are off, and the fire is out.

Watch your cords–  Do not place electrical cords in high traffic areas, and never plug an extension cord into another extension cord. This is dangerous from a tripping hazard as well as an electrical one, with excessive voltage that could cause an overload of your electrical box or even a fire.

At the Tailgate

Space heaters– Space heaters are a life saver during late season games in cold climates, but make sure to keep space heaters at least three feet away from all flammable materials when in use.

While you’re inside the stadium– Windy parking lots and lawns can make signs and banners combustible hazards to your grill. Make sure the coals are extinguished in your gas grill and not lit.

Burgers, hotdogs, and chicken are game day staples, but without refrigeration they’re at risk for bacteria. Make sure you have ample cooler space and ice or a nearby place to refrigerate things before being prepared. Watch food temperatures.

And of course, be mindful of drivers and always designate one if you or someone in your party plans on drinking.

We’re here for you! Call Mister Sparky Northwest Arkansas if you’re experiencing any electrical issues so that the only power problems during the big game come from a poor defensive line. Have a great football season everyone!

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, aluminum wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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How To Save Energy For The Fall

By Krush Content,

save money on winter electric bill

Labor Day is in the rearview and autumn is almost upon us. You know what that means: Halloween decorations, pumpkin spice everything, and some blessedly cooler weather. As much as you might love the lower temperatures and turning leaves, if you aren’t careful, the season can do a number on your energy bills. Buttoning up your home for the cold months will mean a lot of energy saving opportunities, and more ways to cut back on wasted energy that won’t cost you anything in the process. Here are some simple things you can do to cut back on your energy use and save some money for the upcoming holidays:Open your windows in the fall to let in light and keep your home warm

Natural Sunlight

The sun is your best friend this time of year. Open your blinds and curtains on your south and west-facing windows during the day to let in as much light as possible. The sunlight will help warm your house during the day. Then once you hit sundown, close them back up. This does more than enhance privacy.  It also reduces the amount of warm air that escapes through your windows. If you have windows that are especially drafty, you can insulate them by covering them up with heavy, clear plastic. Heavier curtain fabrics may also reduce drafts.

Thermostat

save-money-on-winter-electric-billWhen you aren’t home, there isn’t much need for the heat to be running. Whatever temperature you normally prefer at home in the evening, set it 10 to 15 degrees lower than that while you’re at work (if you’re a heavy sleeper, you can do this while you sleep as well and double your savings). If you have a programmable thermostat, you can preset schedules to follow this trend without needing to remember to set it.

Stopping Air Leaks

An energy audit is the most reliable and effective way to locate air leaks and other energy waste. Even if you don’t have access to an audit, you can still find the leaks yourself with some incense. Light a stick of incense so that it produces wisps of smoke. This will give you a visual cue for the locations of leaks. Slowly pass the lit stick along corners, outlets, light switches, windows, doors, pipe entrances, and chimneys. If the wisps of smoke curling off the incense suddenly change direction without you moving the stick, you may have found an air leak. Patch these leaks up using weather-stripping or caulk to prevent more air from escaping.

Fireplace

air can escape from your fireplace if the flue is open If you use a fireplace, keep the damper closed unless you have a fire burning. A lot of air can escape when the damper is open (much like running the AC or heater with a window open in your house all the time). When you are using your fireplace, if you have a thermostat for a furnace, set the temperature on the thermostat to between 50 and 55 degrees F. Installing tempered glass doors and a heat exchanger on your fireplace will really improve the fireplace warming capabilities, making sure your home is nice and warm without losing much heat. Lastly, make sure the hearth of your fireplace is sufficiently sealed with caulk to ensure there aren’t any air leaks.

HVAC Maintenance

Regular maintenance is a must for your heating and cooling system. Early autumn is the ideal time to get maintenance on your heating system as technicians won’t be quite as busy as in the peak-demand times of winter and summer. If you have a furnace, replace the filter once every month, or as needed to ensure proper airflow. With wood or pellet burning heaters, it is important to clean the flue and the inside of the heater regularly to keep the heater working efficiently.

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, aluminum wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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DIY Electrical Mistakes

By Krush Content,

avoid electrical mistakes with Mister Sparky's helpful tips

Many homeowners like to go DIY when it comes to smaller projects around their homes.  But when you’re not using a professional, it’s easy to overlook little mistakes.  And with electricity, little mistakes can be dangerous, even deadly.  We’ve listed five of the most common home electric mistakes and how to avoid them.

Making Connections Outside Electrical Boxes

You always want to avoid connecting wires outside of electrical boxes. Junction boxes protect the connections from accidental damage and help contain sparks and heat from a loose connection or short circuit. Where connections aren’t contained in an electrical box, install a box, and then reconnect the wires inside it.

Cutting Wires Too Short

worker installing electrical wiresWhen wires are cut too short, they make connections difficult.  Poor connections can be quite dangerous. Leave the wires long enough to protrude at least 3 inches from the box. If you run into short wires, there’s an easy fix. Simply add six-inch extensions onto the existing wires. You can find wire connectors that are easy to install in tight spots in hardware stores and home centers.

Leaving Plastic-Sheathed Cable Unprotected

It’s easy to damage plastic- sheathed cable that’s left exposed between framing members.  For that reason, the national electrical code requires cable to be protected in these areas. Cable is especially vulnerable when it’s run over or under wall or ceiling framing.

Protect exposed plastic- sheathed cable by nailing or screwing a 1-1/2-inch thick board alongside the cable.  You don’t have to staple the cable to the board. If you’re running wire along a wall, use metal conduit.

Poor Support for Outlets and Switches

Loose switches or outlets can look bad, and worse yet, they’re dangerous. Loosely connected outlets can move around, causing the wires to loosen from the terminals. Loose wires can then arc and overheat, creating a potential fire hazard.worker installing electrical wires

Loose outlets can be fixed by shimmying under the screws to create a tight connection to the box. Special spacers can be found at home centers and hardware stores. Other options include small washers or a coil of wire wrapped around the screw.  While you’re back there, be sure to add some insulation.

Installing a Three-Slot receptacle without a Ground Wire

If you have two-slot outlets, it’s tempting to replace them with three-slot outlets so you can plug in three-prong plugs. But don’t do this unless you’re sure there’s a ground wire available. Use a tester to see if your outlet is grounded. A series of lights indicates whether the outlet is wired correctly or what fault exists. These testers are readily available at home centers and hardware stores.

If you discover a three-slot outlet in an ungrounded box, the easiest fix is to simply replace it with a two-slot outlet. If you have a dead outlet, you can try to to trouble-shoot it. And remember, if you ever feel unsure during an electrical project, call the professionals and Mister Sparky will be there to assist you!

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, aluminum wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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How To Avoid House Fires In Your Home

By Krush Content,

lightbulb

Today we launch the first in a new series designed to help you prevent common electrical catastrophes, with tips and advice to better protect you and your family.  In the first of the series, we look at the best ways to avoid the worst of electrical disasters: the house fire.

The Overloaded Outlet

overloaded circuitElectrical outlets are a necessity in our everyday lives, and it is not uncommon to plug multiple appliances into one along our walls. The bad thing about that is when two plugs becomes five, and five becomes eight until you end up with something like the picture featured: At any given moment, there are about 120 volts of electricity flowing through any given American home and from the looks of things, there are about 119 flowing through this one outlet.  This is a recipe for disaster.

An estimated 5300 fires are caused by overloaded outlets annually. It’s easy to look at this picture and think “that’s not me.” And you’re probably right.  But it takes a lot less than that this to overload a circuit.  But just how much does it take?

Circuit breakers and fuses protect against this by regulating against overload by regulating current.  Most circuit breakers and fuses regulate at 15 or 20 amps. You should never use more than eight percent of that total.

How do we know when we’re in range?  Figuring out how much one outlet can handle is just a matter of some basic math.  Use this formula to make a determination:

p/e = i

In simpler terms, this translates to: wattage divided by voltage equals amps.

You can figure out the wattage of each device by checking the manufacturer’s information or by simply Googling the product name and the word “wattage.”  Then total this up.

Say you’re using 2,000 watts of power with your holiday lights and other decorations. You divide that number by the volts in your house (usually 120) and you come up with 16.6 amps of current that you’re using. With a 20-amp electrical outlet, you’re using around 80 percent of the available current, which is the most you should be using per circuit.

If the math isn’t working out for your home, it may be time to install additional outlets. Call Mister Sparky Northwest Arkansas to find out more!

Fireplace Safety

fireplaces pose as a house fire riskPhysics 101, folks.  Hot air rises, ideally out of an unblocked chimney.  When you place something over the chimney, or obstruct the opening of your fireplace, the hot air will get trapped in confined spaces. First in the chimney and then your house. This can lead to a house full of smoke and more often than not, fires.

For your safety and that of your loved ones, neighbors, and the world at large, keep your chimney’s and other airways unblocked and clean.

Exposed Wiring

House fires are often caused by faulty electrical wiring. Home inspectors check electrical panels, but are not allowed to open up walls and ceilings, so problems like exposed wiring often go unnoticed. If they’re not up to code, are missing labels, or aren’t up to capacity, you will have to address the issues. Exposed, spliced or taped wires need to be fixed as soon as possible. You will need to hire an electrician for these jobs. If you see anything like the picture, contact Mister Sparky Northwest Arkansas today!

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, aluminum wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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Mister Sparky’s Energy Saving Tips

By Krush Content,

July in Arkansas means burgers on the grill, fireworks at night, and flip-flops at the pool.  But it also means sky-high electric bills.  The good news is it doesn’t have too.  With a few simple, convenient household changes, you can see big savings on your monthly energy bills.

Open Every Vent

Some homeowners believe that closing vents can reduce energy consumption by preventing the need to cool or heat a particular room. This is a myth.  Closing vents will actually raise your energy costs.  Opening every vent ensures that your air-conditioner won’t struggle to keep your home cool or be kept running after its reached its target temperature.

Go With the Flow

Maintaining the right temperature in your home is often a matter of simple airflow.  When it’s hot, air rises to the highest portions of your house. Standing fans can help circulate the air upwards faster so that the room can be rid of the hot air more easily. This reduces the workload and power consumption of your air-conditioner and keeps rooms cooler.

Cool Down Your Dirty Laundry

It’s widely known that washing your clothes in cold water will reduce energy costs.  What’s not as well-known is just how much.  According to LG Electronics, heating the water in the wash drum accounts for about 90% of the energy your machine uses. Your dryer manages to consume even more energy.  If weather and space allow, you may opt to hang dry your clothes.  But if this isn’t an option, you can still make your drying more efficient.  The most important step you can take is to avoid overfilling your dryer.   If there’s little room for movement in the drier, the hot air won’t be able to do its job and you may have to run the dryer a second time. That’s doubly wasteful so make sure your load doesn’t take up too much room before you wash it. Leave at least 25% of the dryer unfilled so there’s room for movement, and even more if you’re drying large bed sheets or blankets.

The Night Time Is the Right Time

Sometimes saving money is simply a matter of timing.  Most utility companies offer discounts for usage during non-peak hours, usually beginning at 8:00 pm.  If you can time your dishwashing and laundry loads to be done in the evening, you can see significant savings in the long run.  You can even put suitable appliances on an outlet timer (most cost $10 or less) so that they’ll remember for you.

rest easy with Mister Sparky's energy tips

Throw Cold Water On the Problem

There’s no getting around the fact that dishwashers require a certain amount of heat to adequately clean your pots and pans, but if you watch your wash cycle, you can cut down on hot water use and still have crystal clear dishes come out of the wash.  Rinsing agents like Jet Dry will prevent water spots just as easily as hot water.  And while washing the dishes might require heat, drying them does not.   Most dishwashers allow you to disable the heated dry stage of the cycle.   Air-drying your dishes will produce significant long term savings.

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, aluminum wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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Find The Best Electrician Near Me!

By Krush Content,

If you are having electrical issues in your home, one of the first questions you might ask yourself is “How do I find an electrician near me?” Choosing an electrician might not be such a complicated task after all, once you know what to look for when making your choice. Read on to learn about some of the most important factors you should consider when choosing an electrician.

 

  1. Price

Mister Sparky NWA Electrician Fixing Faulty Lights

Many people in need of an electrician are on a budget. While you have the right to expect reasonable prices, it is important to remember that the least expensive electrician will not necessarily perform the best work. You need to know the difference between if you are getting the electrical issue completely fixed or if a bandage is being implemented for a reduced fee. You will also want to ask about other fees an electrician might charge. Many have hidden fees that are not disclosed upfront before the electrical repair work begins.

 

  1. Expertise

 

It is important that to select a professional electrician well skilled and qualified to perform the electrical work your home requires. Some electricians might specialize in one or a few different areas. Other electricians will have more experience and on-going training. Choosing an electrician who specializes in residential electrical home repair will help ensure the completion of a better job.

 

  1. Licensing

 

You will want to make sure that the electrician you choose is licensed in the jurisdiction in which you are seeking the work to be performed. It is also important to verify that your electrician is registered with the proper agencies.

 

  1. Insurance

 

Does your electrician have insurance? This is huge question you should be asking. There is a great deal that can happen when someone is completing an electrical job, and you should choose an electrician that is covered by liability insurance. Many home owners do not know that if an electrical repair contractor is injured on your property that the homeowner may be liable for the injury unless the electrician is properly insured. There are many electricians who do not carry adequate or sometimes any insurance.

 

  1. Reputation

 

You can always ask your electrician for references to verify that they possess the ability to perform good work. You can also look up your electrician with agencies such as the Better Business Bureau to determine if anyone has had a negative experience with your electrician. The totality of reviews are also key indicators. Most people know that an disgruntled person is more likely to leave a review for service, but how often was a customer willing to take the time to provide positive feedback? This can demonstrate the true value of the service received.

 

Mister Sparky is one of the longest running and best recognized local electrician office throughout all Northwest Arkansas. Our expert electricians are the best residential repair professionals in the communities and industry. We are home of the 5-Star Electricians. This means our electricians are properly certified, receive on-going training and are experts with all home electrical issues. We provide each home owner with a 28-point electrical safety inspection. Electrical safety in your home and for your family is our number 1 priority.

 

Our prices are reasonable for the work we perform. Rather than receiving an estimate that is merely guesswork and might leave you owing more than you expected, you receive a “straight forward price” for your job.

 

We know that our reputation is important, so we back all the repairs we perform with a superior industry warranty and a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. We also don’t call ourselves “America’s on-time electrician” for nothing! We guarantee the time slot that our electricians will arrive to do the job.

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, aluminum wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

 

 

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When Should I Replace Old Electrical Wiring?

By Krush Content,

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA working on an electrical panel repair.

It is time to think about replacing old electrical wiring in the home if your house is 40 or more years old. Even though your appliances and devices seem to work without any apparent issues, exposed wires or frayed insulation materials warrant an immanent inspection. The certified electricians at Mister Sparky Northwest Arkansas will check to make sure your wiring meets or exceeds current local and/or national codes.  A Mister Sparky Electrician NWA technician fixes an electrical main panel in Northwest Arkansas.

 

When an expert Mister Sparky electrician comes to your home, we perform a safety inspection with every service call. Home safety is a top priority at Mister Sparky and we take our job to protect homeowners very seriously. Electrical wiring is the number 1 cause of house fires and we work hard to keep your home protected and up to code standards.

 

You have worked hard for your home and all the irreplaceable belongings in it. Often a home fire can quickly become a total loss of the property, when it gets out of control in an instant. We want to keep your family and belongings safe for generations to come.

 

Faulty electrical wiring in your home is a hidden and ever present dangerous situation. Electrical wiring problems can be hidden just out of sight behind outlets, leaving you clueless to the potential accident waiting to happen.

 

According to the National Fire Data Center, approximately 25,900 electrical fires occurred in residential buildings between 2009-2011. To avoid the possibility of your home being at risk for these alarming statistics simply contact Mister Sparky Northwest Arkansas for a professional safety inspection.

 

Here are some examples of electrical problems requiring professional attention.

 

  • Limited wall receptacles requiring excessive use of extension cords
  • An insufficient breaker panel
  • Outdated breakers
  • Loose connections

 

Pay special attention to warning signs indicating you may be experiencing electrical issues in your home. If you smell a burnt odor near an outlet, electric stove, television or any electrical device, your home could be in danger of a potential electrical danger. Fuses that often blow out in your home are another red flag occurrence signaling potential electrical problems.

Mister Sparky Electrician in Northwest Arkansas(NWA) repairing an electrical outlet.

 

If your home still has an old-fashioned fuse box Mister Sparky recommends you replace it with a modern circuit breaker panel. An updated circuit breaker system is more efficient and will provide a more adequate amount of electricity to meet the demands of your contemporary electrical load.

 

Other Warning Signs of Potential Electrical Danger include:

 

  • Lights that constantly flicker
  • Tingling fingers every time you touch your kitchen range or other appliances
  • Outdated two-prong electrical outlets
  • Damaged switches
  • Exposed electrical cables
  • Unprotected wire connections

 

Questions about Aluminum Wiring

 

The most common material used in homes since the early 1900’s is aluminum wiring. Many homes built in the 1970’s and earlier are often at risk for fire due to improperly installed or old electrical wiring. Aluminum wiring has a typical life expectancy of about 30 years. It is sometimes a danger because the wiring warms up as current is running through it. Connections between the wire, devices or aluminum wire splices has cause enough heat to melt and potentially catch fire.

 

If you suspect your home still has its original electrical wiring or you experience any signs of electrical issues, call Mister Sparky of Northwest Arkansas for an in-home safety inspection. We are trained to identify any problems with your wiring and we always provide written straight forward pricing with any repair recommendation.

 

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, aluminum wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

 

 

 

 

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Protecting Your Family From Electrical Hazards In The Home

By Krush Digital,

Electricity provides us with light, warmth and music. It allows us to access our favorite television shows and websites. These days, many of us even read on a device powered by electricity. It’s a fundamental part of modern life, but when something goes wrong, the consequences can be deadly.

ELECTRICAL FIRES: HOW OFTEN DO THEY OCCUR?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 500 people are killed in house electrical fires each year, and a frightening 51,000 electrical fires occur in general. Even if everyone survives the fire, many families are left out in the cold after their home and all possessions are destroyed. If this sounds like your worst nightmare, rest assured that it’s preventable.

STAYING SAFE: DO YOU HAVE ELECTRICAL HAZARDS IN THE HOME IN YOUR HOME?

  1. Watch Your Lighting
  2. Never use bulbs with a wattage higher than designed for the fixture you’re putting them in. Most lamps have a small label that states the recommended wattage. Be extra careful with halogen lamps, which tend to run hotter than other lighting equipment. If you choose to use these lamps, make sure they are not surrounded by flammable materials.

  1. Check Your Sockets
  2. Overloading a socket is never a good thing. Rather than plugging multiple extenders into an outlet to allow for more devices, consider talking to an electrician about installing additional sockets. Many older homes were not designed for the modern world. A few decades ago, people didn’t have cell phones, e-readers, laptops and gaming consoles to find outlets for. Rather than deal with this hassle and possibly start a fire, it makes more sense to have an additional outlet installed where you need it.

  1. Give it a Feel
  2. If you’re concerned that an outlet might be hazardous, give it a gentle touch with dry hands. If it feels hot, you likely have a problem brewing. Many people don’t realize that electrical wiring wears out over time, much like every other part of your home. The peace of mind can be worth the price when it comes to having modern wiring put in. If you’re worried, consider getting a quote from an electrician.

  1. Deal with Exposed Wiring
  2. Not every home is up to par. If you move into an apartment and find exposed wiring in the sockets, be sure to speak to your landlord right away. This is a fire hazard, and it likely isn’t up to code. If you have exposed wiring in your own home, now is the time to have it taken care of. Make sure all outlets have covers. Not only can exposed wiring lead to house electrical fires, but it can also cause electrocution in children or pets.

KEEP YOUR HOME SAFE: NATIONAL ELECTRICAL SAFETY MONTH

May is National Electrical Safety Month, and the team at Mister Sparky Electricians share these ideas to help you keep your home safer. If you’re concerned that your wiring, lighting or electrical devices might be dangerous, please contact us today. With every Mister Sparky appointment, we provide a 28-point safety inspection to help uncover any electrical safety hazard in your home. Our expert electricians will keep you knowledgeable about the current safety status of your house. Schedule your service today at 888-8-SPARKY or just find the link at the top of the website to request service online.

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