Month: January 2021

About Chimney Damper

A chimney damper is a unit that seals off the chimney when it’s not in use. This ensures that the cool or warm air remains in the house. Chimney dampers come in different designs and you can install them just above the fireplace or at the top of the chimney using a chimney damper cap.

In addition to conserving energy, chimney dampers also serve other functions. For example, they also aid in keeping birds, animals and debris from getting into your home through the chimney flue.

If you install the damper at the top of your chimney, the damper will prevent large animals such as raccoons from accessing your home.

According to chimney techniciansdampers also aid in preventing rainwater from getting into your house.

Guide on how to clean your chimney damper

Just like any other part of your house, the damper gets dirty from ash and other debris. To maintain the damper in good working condition you should clean it as part of your regular routine.

You should start by sweeping out the fireplace using a small broom. You should remove all the ashes and any debris that might be there.

You should then line the floor of the fireplace with old newspapers and then remove the chimney damper plate. You should note that there are many ways of installing chimney damper; therefore, you should be keen when removing it.

If your damper is connected to its support using screws or cotter pins, you should carefully remove the screws and then slowly pull the damper out of the chimney. If there are any ashes you should remove them from the plate and damp them in the trash.

Once you are done you should hold the damper over the newspapers and scrape it with a wire brush in order to remove the large chunks of soot. You should clean the inside and outside of the damper to remove all the soot. Once clean you should rinse it with clean water and replace it back into the chimney.


To conserve energy, it’s wise that you consider undertaking chimney damper installation. For it to give you the right results you should ensure that it’s installed by a professional. For it to last for a long time, you should regularly maintain it by cleaning. It’s also wise that you hire a chimney repair professional to take a look at your chimney at least once a year.

The post Blog first appeared on First Class Chimney Services.

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Is a Fireplace a Cost-Effective Way to Heat Your Home?

In the right scenario – which we’ll look at below – a fireplace can be an excellent supplemental heating appliance. A good fireplace can do a great job at heating the room it’s in and even some other areas proximal to the room.

Here are five things to consider if you’re thinking of buying a new fireplace or hoping to get more out of the one you have.

1. Not all fireplaces are the same

What we call a “fireplace” can actually be three different appliances:

fireplace options, avon ct

  •  Traditional open masonry fireplace
  • Gas or wood-burning fireplace insert
  • Gas or wood factory-built fireplace

Each type of unit functions differently and brings different levels of cost-efficiency.

2. Heat-efficiency ratings

In simple terms, heat-efficiency ratings are given to heating appliances to show how much heat they’ll produce in your home versus how much heat is lost in the combustion process.

For example, traditional masonry fireplaces often are rated at 10% to 20% efficiency, which means 80% or 90% of their heat never enters your home. Modern zero-clearance (ZC) fireplaces and fireplace inserts (which are self-contained units that fit into an existing firebox) come with efficiency ratings of 60% and as high as 90%.

If you’re after cost-efficient heating, you’ll get the most “bang for your buck” with a ZC fireplace or fireplace insert.

3. The size of your home

Fireplaces if built well and working properly should be able to bring warmth to the room they’re in. But no single fireplace will effectively heat a large home.

If you have multiple rooms within your home, you might consider adding a second or third fireplace for zone heating. Zero-clearance fireplaces come in many sizes and BTU outputs and can be safely installed in bedrooms, dens, kitchens and even bathrooms.

fireplace cleaning, rocky hill ct4. Condition of the fireplace and vent system

For any kind of fireplace to work in a cost-effective manner, it’s critical that it is kept maintained and that its vent system (especially for wood-burning units) is clean and in good repair.

Even a standard masonry fireplace will perform better when the chimney is clean and free of drafting obstructions such as built-up creosote and outside debris like leaves, twigs and small-animal nests.

Gas and wood zero-clearance fireplaces and inserts should be inspected annually by a certified chimney or fireplace technician to ensure that they’re working as they should. All venting systems for wood-burning appliances should be swept (cleaned) once a year to prevent fires and to keep the smoke path open and clear.

5. The condition of your home

If you home has small areas where cold air is coming through, the efficiency of your fireplace will be reduced. During these frigid winters we have in Connecticut, even keeping doors open too long while entering and exiting can allow large amounts of cold air into the home that will have to be warmed.

Obviously, you can’t avoid opening doors, but you can caulk around window frames, install double-pane windows, make sure the attic is well-insulated and perform other tasks to conserve energy and heat.

So the answer to the question – is a fireplace a cost-effective way to heat your home? – is yes, if you have the right kind of fireplace, don’t expect it to do more than it’s capable of doing and keep it in top shape through chimney cleaning, inspection and repair.

Northeastern Chimney of West Hartford, CT, can help you choose the ideal new fireplace for your home and install it safely and correctly. We also offer complete chimney sweep services, chimney and fireplace inspections and all types of appliance and vent system repairs.

Speak with a certified hearth expert today at (860) 233-5770.


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Harmful Effects Cold Winter Weather Has on Your Chimney

Our cold Maryland winters affect not only us, but they also affect our chimneys. Let’s look at some of the issues that cold weather can cause with chimneys and how to solve or prevent these chimney problems.


Smoke backing up into your home is no fun. Less fun is what the smoke carries: deadly carbon monoxide, which can’t be seen or smelled. During the winter, your chimney flue absorbs the outside temperature, adding a block of cold, heavy air that impedes the lighter, warmer air (i.e., smoke) from moving up and out of the chimney.

If this is the only reason you’re experiencing backdrafts, the solution often is as simple as holding some kindling or a lit rolled-up newspaper past the damper for a few minutes to warm the flue before starting and enjoying your fire.

chimney problems, germantown mdDrafting obstructions

When it’s cold outside, we like to stay inside. So do critters like squirrels and raccoons. Since they can’t walk through your front door, they go for the next best choice: your chimney.

Many different kinds of small animals including certain birds like to hang out in chimneys during the winter – and they build nests in their new homes to birth their offspring later on. Nesting material along with any animals who unfortunately have died inside the chimney will impede smoke from drafting properly from your fireplace, or worse yet, lead to fires.


The solution is two-fold: 1. Have your chimney professionally cleaned, and 2. Install a full-width chimney cap to keep animals as well as tree debris out of your chimney.

Chimney leaks

A leaky chimney is nothing to take lightly or overlook. If there’s a leak, that means some area of the structure has been compromised and will continue to get worse.

Masonry damage during the winter is the cause of many chimney leaks. Small cracks in the bricks and mortar allow water from rain or melting snow to get inside. When the temperature drops below freezing, the moisture expands, then thaws and creates internal decay.

Fixing this problem begins with a chimney inspection by a technician certified through the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Once the area of damage is located, it can be fixed either through brick replacement, tuckpointing (replacement of crumbling mortar), partial chimney rebuilding or, in minor cases, a water-sealant application.

chimney cap repair, potomac mdDamage to chimney components

Chimney flashing, concrete chimney crowns and chimney caps can all be damaged during our brutal winters and during other times of the year. Weather such as high winds, freezing temperatures, pounding hail, lightning strikes and other events are common causes of chimney damage.

When any component of your chimney isn’t working correctly and safely, larger problems are likely to occur down the line. This is why it’s always recommended that you schedule an annual chimney inspection, preferably not during the dead of winter, to discover small problems and get them solved before they become big, expensive and dangerous.

Inspections along with regular chimney sweeping and required repair work will allow you to use your chimney and fireplace safely and with peace of mind during the cold winter days and nights.

High’s Chimney Service of Gaithersburg, MD, provides everything you need to keep your chimney going strong all winter long. Call us for certified chimney sweep services, chimney inspections, chimney repairs and chimney rebuilding. Talk with an expert about what you want to accomplish by calling
(301) 519-3500.


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Why You Need a Chimney Cleaning

Having your chimney swept and inspected annually is an important measure to take if you are a homeowner. Though it can be easy to ignore what you do not see, basic chimney care is essential to keeping your home safe and your chimney in working order.

Do you live in the Boston area and does your chimney need to be swept or inspected? Boston’s Best Chimney is a family owned one stop chimney service company that has been serving the commuget a chimney cleaningnity since 1989. Click here or call (781) 893-6611 to get in touch with us about your chimney needs.

Today we will discuss how chimney cleanings work and some of the potential consequences of ignoring this basic form of chimney care.

How Does a Chimney Sweeping Work? 

At Boston’s Best Chimney, we follow guidelines from the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fire Protection Association to perform chimney sweeps. First, we inspect the flue to determine if a chimney needs to be swept and if so, which type of brush is best to use. Creosote has several phases, so this step is important in order to see if the situation calls for a basic sweep or if more aggressive tactics are necessary. Check out our blog on the different phases of creosote to learn more. Then, we prepare the work site with a drop cloth, vacuum, and additional dust control if necessary. After that, we attach the brush to a rod and insert it past the damper area until it reaches the peak of the chimney.

Why Do You Need Chimney Cleaning? 

Check for the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

get a chimney cleaning as a part of your chimney care

Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the biggest reasons why we do what we do. Soot buildup and condensation from heating equipment creates a perfect environment for decay.  Problems arise when soot is allowed to build up inside of the chimney or deteriorating falling sections of the internal chimney system fall, creating blockages that allow fumes into vent into homes. Structural issues or animal nesting can also impact airflow, which is why it is important to have your chimney both cleaned and inspected by a professional annually.

Prevent Exposure to Creosote

Creosote buildup happens as a result of incomplete combustion or the usage of wood with a high amount of moisture. High exposure to creosote can cause several health problems including respiratory issues and eye and skin irritation. Although creosote poisoning is rare, getting your chimney swept once a year or as needed will keep creosote from building up and reduce risk.

Contact Us for your Boston Area Chimney Care Needs 

Would you like to have your chimney cleaned or inspected by a professional? As we have discussed, there are many reasons why you need a chimney cleaning and inspection each year. Click here or call (781) 893-6611 to get in touch for an appointment.

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4 Reasons Your Chimney Needs a Good Chimney Cap

A full-width chimney cap – a relatively simple and inexpensive chimney component – can literally save your chimney and keep you safe. We’ll show you exactly how this is accomplished, but first, let’s differentiate between chimney caps and flue covers.

chimney cap, olathe ksChimney cap vs. flue cover

A flue cover is a device that covers the flue openings at the top of your chimney. A proper chimney cap covers not only the flue openings but also the entire top area of your chimney including the concrete chimney crown, which is prone to cracking due to water damage and other events.

To preserve your chimney, you’re best off going with a custom-fitted, full-width chimney cap.

Here are four things a good chimney cap will do for you. (Flue covers will do most of these things but won’t protect the entire top of your chimney.)


1. Prevent debris obstructions

Your chimney cap provides the perfect block to prevent leaves, twigs and other tree debris as well as small animals and their nesting material from getting into your flue.

All this debris can cause smoke to draft sluggishly and eventually begin backing up into your home. Smoke in the house is a problem, but a greater problem is the carbon monoxide contained within the smoke.

Carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless – and it is known to be potentially fatal to humans and animals living inside your home.

2. Reduce the severity of downdrafts

Air blowing into the top of an open flue with no cap can sail down the chimney and blow cold into your room if your fireplace damper isn’t fully closed.

When the fireplace is in use, downdrafts (or backdrafts) can push smoke, carbon monoxide, sparks, embers and soot into your room. A proper chimney cap will make a significant positive difference in the severity of downdrafts.

chimney cap, kansas city ks3. Block rain and snow

An open flue top is an invitation for water and snow to move right in and start a cycle of damage. Internal flue moisture can lead to chimney liner damage. If there are cracks in the chimney crown, water can seep down and affect the chimney masonry beneath it. (Remember: a proper cap will help to protect damaged crowns; a basic flue cover will not.)

Moisture in the chimney also can cause strong, unpleasant odors and lead to the growth of harmful mold. A quality chimney cap is your best defense against incoming water and a great way to extend the life
of your chimney.

4. Keep sparks in the flue

During a fireplace fire, red-hot sparks and embers can rise with the smoke draft, jump out the top of your flue and land on the roof or in the yard. Leaf piles can be set on fire, and lawn furniture and other objects can be damaged. Roofing shingles also can be damaged, depending on how many sparks escape the flue.

If your chimney has no cap or the one you have is damaged, Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS, is here to help. We’ll install a custom, full-width chimney cap that will protect your chimney, many of its components and your home and family all year long.

Arrange an appointment or get your questions answered by calling (913) 236-7141.


The post 4 Reasons Your Chimney Needs a Good Chimney Cap appeared first on Fluesbrothers Chimney Service.

The Benefits of Installing a Chimney Cap

Your chimney is an essential safety apparatus that vents smoke and exhaust when using the fireplace or heating stove to keep your family warm and comfy. Many chimneys lack a chimney cap, which means they have an open flue exposing the chimney to rain, wind, pests, and debris that can damage the interior masonry, reduce the heating efficiency, and increase the likelihood of dangerous downdrafts.

chimney caps, overland park ksWhat is a Chimney Cap?

A chimney cap is an accessory  on top of the chimney. It covers the flue opening while allowing the exhaust to vent into the atmosphere. There are numerous benefits to installing a chimney cap.

Prevents Water Intrusion

One of the biggest reasons for installing a chimney cap is to prevent water intrusion. Water is incredibly destructive to chimneys and can cause extensive damage to interior masonry walls, flue liner, damper, and other components. Water damage can make your fireplace or heating stove unsafe to operate, resulting in expensive repairs. It can also promote mold and bacteria growth, which can be potentially harmful to your health.

Keep Out Pests and Debris

The chimney is often the highest point of a home. High winds can blow leaves, twigs, and debris from nearby trees into an exposed flue. Small animals and pests can also climb a chimney as easily as climbing a tree where they can curiously enter the flue. Once inside, they often perish, unable to climb out. Decaying organic matter can cause foul odors and attract pests. It is also a health hazard because when the flue is partially or entirely clogged, it restricts the venting of dangerous gases. Instead of exiting the chimney, smoke and fumes may be forced down the vent, causing smoke, soot, and hot ashes to be pushed out of the fireplace.

Protects Chimney Liner

A chimney cap also plays an integral role in protecting the chimney liner and extending its useful life. Moisture and debris that get in the chimney through an exposed flue can damage the liner requiring more frequent repairs and early replacement. A damaged chimney liner also increases the risk of fire and exposure to toxic carbon monoxide fumes.

chimney fire risk, independence moFire Prevention

A roaring wood-burning fireplace fire is a stunning sight, but sparks from hot embers flying around the flue can be a fire hazard if it flies out the chimney and lands on the roof or nearby brush. A chimney cap with a spark arrestor will prevent sparks from escaping the chimney, reducing fire risk.

Reduces Downdrafts

Windy days can be a severe problem for chimneys without a chimney cap. A gust of wind can blow cold air down the chimney causing a dangerous downdraft that forces smoke and exhaust into your living space. Installing a chimney cap will help prevent this and improve the chimney draft for more efficient heating.

Chimney caps are available in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and materials. Since a chimney cap that is the wrong size or incorrectly installed will defeat its purpose, always contact a chimney professional to help you select and install the right chimney cap for your chimney.

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What is a Chimney Liner? Do I Need a Chimney Liner?

Welcome to 2021. We hope this new year brings great health, and harmony to your homes.

Our dedication is to provide you with fireplace, chimney, and masonry knowledge as well as the highest integrity service. The intent of our monthly newsletter is to keep you up to date with the most current information. Our team is constantly undergoing training and we are observing all the regulations pertaining to COVID-19.

do i need a chimney linerLet’s talk about chimney liners:

A chimney liner is, in fact, a lining that goes in the flue of the chimney. The flue is a tunnel or passageway located within the chimney structure.  A flue lining is made of clay, ceramic, or metal conduit and is intended to contain the burning products, and direct them to the outside atmosphere while protecting the chimney walls from heat and corrosion (similar to an exhaust for a car). Do you really need on? YES, YOU DO! (read why)

Do you really need a chimney liner?

Chimney liners create a clear and direct path for smoke to exit your home safely and efficiently. Without one, the chimney walls will eventually deteriorate, and smoke will be able to seep through any cracks. When your chimney cannot effectively release smoke outside, it greatly increases the risk of a chimney fire. The chimney liner is one of many chimney components that keeps your chimney working safely and smoothly. Check out our guide on How a Chimney Works to learn about the different parts of the chimney.

Are you interested in getting a chimney liner installed? Boston’s Best Chimney has been the community’s one stop chimney service company specializing in every aspect of chimney maintenance and repair since 1989. Click here or call (781) 893-6611 to get in touch with us.

How would I know if my chimney needs a new liner?

Unlined Flue

In the 1920s chimneys began to be built with clay tile liners.  Most chimneys we encounter before this period are unlined and consist of just brick and mortar.  This is not only concerning for carbon monoxide transmission, but also for heat transfer to neighboring construction materials.  If your chimney is unlined, it should be lined for use.

Clay tile lined flue

Most chimneys built in this area after the 1920s are clay tile lined.  Clay tiles are usually square or rectangular and in two-foot lengths.  These sections are mortared together within the flue walls to create a barrier to the exposed brick and mortar.   Over time, these sections, as well as the mortar between them, break down.  This is mainly due to soot accumulation (high acid content) or moisture.  Moisture can penetrate the brick (porous), come in from above (the flue opening) or from within with poor wood or gas fueled appliances.  When there is a break or breach in the lining, the flue should be lined for use.

Chimney Liner Benefits

The most significant benefit of having a chimney liner is that it increases your home and family’s safety. When you use your heat, exhaust and carbon monoxide gets released so ensuring that the by-products of combustion are removed at all costs.  Similarly, heat and smoke from your fireplace can enter the home during an improperly venting fire.  This increases the residence time the smoke spends within the walls and creates soot buildup.  Excess soot buildup is flammable and is how a chimney fire is formed.

There are various types of chimney liners on the market and most depend on how you are going to use your fireplace or heating flue.  Whether you go from gas to wood burning or vice versa, you must install a new chimney liner appropriate for that type of fuel and use. The same rule applies to heating and hot water equipment because different materials are more suited for different types of fuel.

Of course, if you are unsure about your chimney liner’s status, get a chimney inspection as soon as possible. Click here or call (781) 893-6611  to contact us.  Our trained staff can talk you through the differences and options for your specific needs.  Please also note our special offers for the rest of January and February 2021.

The post What is a Chimney Liner? Do I Need a Chimney Liner? appeared first on Boston's Best Chimney.

About Chimney Waterproofing

Chimney waterproofing is the act of treating your chimney so that no water gets inside it. There are many benefits that come with this practice. These benefits include:


When you waterproof your chimney you don’t have to worry of erosion. The waterproofing materials seal even minor chimney crevices thus preventing water from finding its water into the crevices. You should note that when water gets into the crevices, it stays there. When it gets cold, the water freezes and expands. This pushes the bricks apart causing large cracks where water can leak through.


Even if you live in an area where freezing doesn’t take place, stagnant water comes with a number of challenges. One of the major challenges being rotting. When water stands inside the chimney crevices, it attracts mold which can cause serious damage and discoloration to the chimney.

If the mold stays on the chimney for a long time, it will eventually spread to other which results to weakening of the chimney and eventually it might break apart.

Guide on how to waterproof the chimney

You should start by measuring the surface area of the chimney. This is to enable you to know the amount of waterproofing material that you need.

If the chimney has mold, dirt, creosote, efflorescence, or rust, you should undertake chimney cleaning. To clean the chimney thoroughly, you should use a cleaner. You can clean the chimney on your own; however, if you don’t have time or skills, you should hire a chimney cleaning professional to help you out.

If your chimney has any defects, you should repair it. For ideal results you should hire a chimney repair contractor to do the work for you.

Once you are through, you should protect the non-target areas. This is to prevent the overspray from getting to the shingles thus causing discoloration. For ideal results, you should use a canvas drop cloth or an absorbent material. You should avoid using plastic drop cloths as they get slippery thus the overspray can easily get into the room even with the protective material being present.

Once everything is in place you should apply the water repellant. You should start from the bottom of the chimney and slowly work your way to the top. For ideal results, you should apply a flood coat that is heavy enough so that it runs about 6”-8” from the area that you are spraying. For optimum results you should apply two coats of the chimney waterproofing product.

The post Blog first appeared on First Class Chimney Services.

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Why Does the Fireplace Let Cold Air into the Home?

Why Does the Fireplace Let Cold Air into the Home? by Superior Chimney, Lombard, IL

Whenever we think of a cold winter’s day, our minds drift to a warm fireplace. There’s nothing like sitting in an oversized chair with my favorite ‘drink’ while I close my eyes to enjoy the warmth and crackling sound of the fire. The fireplace can certainly serve as a place of solace and relaxation. Clearly, we don’t want anything to mess that up.

What’s that Chill?

There’s always something to challenge ‘me’ time. In this instance, it was a cold draft. When the fire is out in your woodburning or gas fireplace there’s an opportunity for cool or cold air to enter into your home. That’s because the fireplace and chimney are another opening or entry to the outside, similar to a window or door.

Air Pressure

We all know that warm air rises and cold air sinks – Heated air has lower density than cold air, so the warm buoyant air in your house wants to rise and leak out of your home through any gaps or inefficiencies… and through the roof.  There are pathways in the upper levels & roof elements which allow the warm rising room-air to escape out of your house.  All the while, cold heavy outside air comes in through lower gaps and inefficiencies (like the fireplace). Warm air rises up and leaks out of your house while cold replacement air, from outside, will flow in through lower pathways in the lower levels.  

What can cause the air pressure to change?

  • Wind: and we have plenty of it
  • Temperature: what is the temperature outside vs inside the home
  • Structure Thermal Envelope: meaning how airtight is the home in regards to windows, doors, insulation, etc.
  • Height of the chimney


The modern damper is located outside of the home and on top of the chimney. It helps to seal in heat, minimizes any wind downdrafts, and seals out rain, snow. If you have a damper, check if it is closed. If it is, then the seal is not tight and the damper needs to be checked. If you notice that it’s open, close it right away. Then check if cold air continues to make its way inside.

Getting Too Complicated!

It’s cold. There’s a draft. Air pressure isn’t helping. Got it.

What can be done to fix the problem? First, contact Superior Chimney at 877.244.6349. Certified Technicians confront this issue all the time. They will be able to evaluate and diagnose the problem and put a stop to the cold air from entering your home.

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Different Types Of Chimney Flues

Chimney flue is the vertical passageway in a chimney through which smoke, toxic gases and other by-products of the burning fuel pass and expelled into the open air. Are you constructing a house and wondering the best chimney flue to install? Here are the different types that you should consider:


Clay flues are the most common and preferred by many people as they are both beautiful and inexpensive. When you maintain them properly, the flues have the ability of lasting up to 75 years.

While these flues are great to have, they are susceptible to cracking in the event of chimney fire. The flues are also not ideal for gas fireplaces due to their inability to contain the combustion byproducts produced by gas fires.


Also known as cast-in-place flues, you make them by placing a tube down the center of the original chimney walls and then pouring concrete around the chimney walls and allowing it to dry.

The cool thing with these flues is that they are resilient and very long lasting. Their main flaw is that they are expensive. You should note that once you install them you can’t remove them without replacing the entire chimney.


Most of the metal chimney flues are made from stainless steel; however, there are some that are made from copper and aluminum. The flues are thin and made in the form of a cylindrical tube which you can easily shift around when necessary.

Due to their thinness, you should insulate them to enhance performance and increase safety. Stainless steel chimney flues are ideal for different fireplaces which include: gas, oil and wood. Aluminum fireplaces are less sturdy thus recommended for gas fireplaces.

Although, metal chimney flues are great, you should be cautious when using them in open fireplaces. The flues are usually too small to properly vent the fireplaces.

Multi flues

They consist of more than one flue that travels up the same chimney. These flues are recommended for homes that have more than one fireplace. The flues are made from different materials such as metal, clay and concrete.


These are some of the most popular chimney flues that you can go for. For ideal results you should ensure that the chimney flue installation is done by a certified chimney contractor.

The post Blog first appeared on First Class Chimney Services.

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