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Schedule Early For the Holidays

The holiday season is the time for your fireplace to be the star of the show. It’s the focal point of the living area, has its own set of holiday decorations, and is the backdrop of many traditions and even family photos. In order to get the most out of your fireplace and chimney system this season, you should take care to schedule routine maintenance now.

Schedule EarlySchedule Early For the Holidays Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

The fall is the busiest time of year for chimney professionals. It’s the time between fall and January when chimney sweep companies are busy with repairs, installations, and emergency calls. In order to get your routine maintenance on the books, it’s important to schedule early. Hudson Chimney offers comprehensive chimney services year-round because we know our customers are busy. It’s our goal to help homeowners in and around Jacksonville, Florida have the safest and most efficient chimney systems possible, so we recommend scheduling services in advance.

Routine Maintenance to Schedule Now

Both the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommend routine maintenance for the safest, most efficient fire. Chimney sweeps keep the entire system clean from top to bottom so that it can work properly and work well. Chimney inspections are the thorough assessment that can prevent serious damage, loss of life, and loss of property. During the inspection, a certified chimney sweep will assess the entire system, reporting on damages and issues, big and small. When you schedule early enough, necessary repairs can be made before the temperatures drop.

Prevent Flue Fires

When the chimney system is clean, it works correctly. How the chimney works depends on airflow. A dirty chimney means obstructed or interrupted airflow. As airflow slows down, the flue is exposed to high temperatures for longer, and creosote and debris on the walls can ignite. Oftentimes flue fires occur with no visible damage and burn out undetected. Learn the signs of flue fires and help prevent them completely by scheduling routine maintenance now.

Prevent Damage

Scheduling a chimney inspection before burn season is the best way to prevent damage. Minor damages or weaknesses in the system now, can become major damage and serious problems later. Letting a certified chimney sweep assess your chimney annually helps you stay safe year after year. It also keeps your chimney working well and helps it last.

Hudson Chimney has been Jacksonville’s choice for chimney care for over thirty years. When you schedule early, you can have a Hudson Chimney expert at your door before the rush. Beat the crowds, don’t be left out in the cold, schedule now. Hudson Chimney offers sweeps, inspections, masonry repairs, relining, leak repairs, cap, damper, and door installations, and more!

Find out what we can do for you and your chimney. Call Hudson Chimney now at 904-282-4159 or contact us online.

Beware of Hidden Storm Damage From Hurricane and Nor’easter Storms

Our service area of Jacksonville, Florida has been battered this summer by tropical storm systems, and there is more to come. While hurricane season is typically categorized as being from June to November, Nor’easter storms are just starting.

Nor’easter storm systems are storms along the East coast of North America. They come from the northeast, bringing with it cooler temperatures, heavy precipitation, and gale force winds. These types of storms have brought snow into the area in the past, and can again in the future. The odd weather in the last few years means we need to be ready for anything here in Northeast Florida to prevent damage and detect it early-on.

Preventative MeasuresBeware of Hidden Storm Damage Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

The best way to prevent storm damage is to prevent it. Natural disasters like hurricanes, Nor’easter storms, and even tornadoes can occur with little warning since even weather predictions can be miscalculated. You can give your chimney system its best chance by making sure it’s ready for any storm that might come your way.

Schedule Annual Chimney Inspections

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) along with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends annual inspections in order to have the safest and most efficient chimney system. An inspection will identify any weakness in your system. It’s a look at the entire system from top to bottom that will let you know what needs to be done to keep water, wind, and time from damaging your chimney system.

Install a New Cap

You can purchase a chimney cap that deflects wind from the flue opening. In this area where hurricanes and tropical storms typically produce strong winds, this is a great option. Ask Hudson Chimney about custom chimney caps that will help you protect your chimney system.

Schedule Waterproofing Services

Hudson Chimney recommends and applies ChimneySaver water repellent, which creates a barrier that water cannot penetrate. This is a specially formulated sealer that allows vapors to escape while keeping water molecules out. It will not only protect your masonry this season but for years.

Detecting Damage

The best way to detect storm damage is to hire a professional to assess your chimney. Inspections are recommended annually, but if your home was affected by the storm (trees fallen, shingles missing, etc.) then your chimney was most likely affected and you should call a professional. Hudson Chimney will assess your chimney in one quick and affordable appointment. This service may even be covered by your homeowner’s insurance if you have filed a storm claim. In general, an inspection will save you money in the long run, because letting damage go undetected is the best way to ruin a chimney. Water damage ruins masonry from the inside out and happens behind the scenes. By the time the average homeowner notices water and storm damage, it has likely caused costly and devastating damage already.

Take precautions this season to protect your chimney against storm damage. Prevention now can save you money later, and a chimney that is damaged is unsafe for your home and family. Let Hudson Chimney take care of your comprehensive chimney needs, and rest assured that yours will make it through the season and more.

Call Hudson now at 904-282-4159.

Storm Damage Repair

One thing that many homeowners try to prepare for is hurricanes. This is especially true if you live in Florida. How many homeowners are prepared for more than one hurricane? How about two hurricanes and one tropical storm in one season? Our customers in Jacksonville are busy putting things back together after devastating storms statewide. Now we’re here to help!

Storm Damage Repair Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson ChimneyCommon Storm Damage

Tropical storms come with sustained winds of 39 mph and higher. Once the maximum sustained winds pass 74 mph, the storm is considered a hurricane. Tropical storms, hurricanes, and even a heavy thunderstorm can cause damage to your chimney system. Winds can blow off or damage flashing and chimney caps. Hail and rain can damage masonry, and if the damage isn’t repaired, more can occur. This season, our service area in Jacksonville has been battered, and you might not have gotten the repairs your chimney needed before another storm passed through.

Your Chimney Cap

In high-wind areas, you can opt for a chimney cap designed to handle hurricane-force winds, and deflect wind from coming into the flue. A functional cap should block rain from falling into the flue. However, when it blows off during a serious storm, it will allow water into the chimney system. Water destroys a chimney from the inside out. If it isn’t corrected, it will continue to ruin parts of the chimney system, as well as components of the home.

Your Flashing

The flashing is made up of thin sheets of metal, placed along the seam of the roof and chimney intersection. This is the most vulnerable of all the chimney system. Not to mention it becomes worse when flashing is installed incorrectly – as it often is. It’s best to have the chimney inspected regularly and know the flashing is in good shape and ready for Florida weather. What happens if the flashing becomes damaged, shifts, or is blown away? Water from tropical storms will penetrate the roof, affecting the chimney, flooring, walls, and structural materials of the home!

Your Chimney Repairs

Hudson Chimney sees a lot of storm damage this time of year, after hurricane season, and before fall. This is the time that homeowners are getting ready for burn season. So, it’s the best time to have the chimney inspected and schedule necessary repairs.

Flashing Repair – Hudson Chimney repairs flashing with the expertise required to properly place flashing according to the slant of the roof, the roofing materials, and the high wind area you live.

Masonry Repair – Depending on the damage to the masonry itself, whether water or wind damage, a masonry repair may be in order. Hudson Chimney sweeps can repair spalling masonry through a process called tuckpointing, replace chimney crowns, and waterproof the masonry for added protection.

When the storm has passed, it’s time to assess the damage, and start repairs. If you have questions about chimney damage, preventative maintenance, and insurance claims, a Hudson Chimney technician can assist you. Just call 904-282-4159 or schedule an appointment with Hudson Chimney online today!

 

National Chimney Safety Week

The first National Chimney Safety Week was in October of 1978, and it was the first recorded celebration of chimney sweeps in the US. Although we at Hudson Chimney are celebrating National Chimney Safety Week this year, it isn’t about us. As certified chimney sweeps, our number one priority is safety for our customers.

National Chimney Safety Week Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson ChimneyChimney Fires

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission there was an average of 22,300 chimney fires annually between 2011 and 2013. Even though this number shows a decrease over previous years, we think this number is too high! With every fire comes a loss of life, health, and property.

National Chimney Safety Week is designed to educate homeowners, communities, and professionals about chimney safety and fire prevention. It occurs October 1-October 7, but the mission is year-round. Hudson Chimney, as a CSIA member, makes it a priority to educate the community about chimney safety year-round and offer services to further this mission.

Safe Chimneys

Both the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends routine maintenance for the safest and most efficient chimney system. A routine chimney sweep will keep your entire system cleaned of debris, soot, and creosote, that can slow airflow and raise fire risk. Creosote is a highly flammable material that will coat the flue if it isn’t cleaned away.

An annual chimney inspection is essential for ongoing chimney safety. The inspection identifies issues that homeowners won’t recognize until it is too late. A technician will identify hazards, weaknesses, and faulty components in all parts of your chimney system. Learn which level of inspection you should schedule here.

Safe Fires

If your chimney is safe and clean, then you are ready for your first fire of the season. It can be an exciting time of year, but it’s important to remember fire safety this fall and through the holidays, until winter is over. When you practice fire safety, and teach your family to do so, you will all be safer from chimney fires.

  • Burn only properly seasoned firewood in your fireplace, insert, or stove. Burning any other items can result in a drop in efficiency, or even a flue fire from a fast-rising material that is aflame.
  • NEVER light a fire using any kind of fuel other than wood and kindling. Using gasoline, kerosene, or oil is not safe in any fireplace or appliance.
  • Use the damper or glass doors to help control the heat and flame. Never close the damper while a fire is burning, otherwise carbon monoxide and smoke is forced into the house
  • Install a screen or custom glass doors to prevent small children from falling into a burning fire.
  • Do not hang decorations on or near the hearth. Keep Christmas trees and other large decorations far enough away that they cannot land in the fireplace if they fall.
  • Practice fire safety habits and teach your children and guests to follow house rules regarding the fire.
  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, checking batteries monthly.

House fires aren’t always preventable, but chimney fires are! Ask Hudson Chimney about preventative services to help you feel safe this winter.

Reduce Energy Bills this Fall by Adding Energy Top Dampers and Cleanout Doors

Energy Top Damper Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson ChimneyDid you know that your fireplace may be costing you money, even when it’s not in use? Your chimney may be the reason for that warm draft in the summer months that have you cranking up the A/C. It can cause structural damage and water damage if neglected, and should be cleaned and inspected routinely.

Prevention Saves Money

You can save money by taking care of your chimney. You should schedule regular chimney sweeps that clean away soot, creosote, and ash from the system. When you keep your system clean, it is safer and more efficient. A clean chimney is also more easy to detect malfunctions and performance problems. Annual chimney inspections also play a large part in preventing hazards in your system. These appointments, both the sweeps and inspections, are made easier when you have a clean-out door. Think of it as a backdoor to your chimney system, allowing access to the inside where you can easily clean out debris and ash, and get a look inside to determine when to schedule your next sweep. At Hudson Chimney we install clean-out doors for customers who are proactive, who’d like to take charge of their chimney system, and who would like to save money in the long-run.

Upgrades Save Money

When you are tired of feeding a fire just to maintain the same mediocre heat production, it’s time to find the problem. Up to 75 percent of heat from a traditional open fireplace can be lost up the chimney. In addition, the conditioned air escapes out the chimney opening during the summer months. This type of occurrence can be prevented completely by installing a top-sealing, or energy saving damper. This damper, unlike a throat damper, is installed directly onto the top of the chimney. It functions as both a chimney cap, and a damper. When the chimney is not in use, it closes with a tight seal that protects the chimney from top to bottom. This secure seal keeps water, wind, and animals out of the flue completely. It is easier to access than a throat damper for repairs and cleaning. It is even easy to open and close from right inside your house by your hearth.

We recommend energy saving dampers over throat dampers and standard caps for the added protection, but also for the money it saves our customers. An energy-saving damper can save you 8 percent on your utility costs and up to 30 percent on your utilities! When it comes to the benefits, this damper pays for itself.

Ask us about how installing energy-saving dampers and cleanout doors can improve your experience today and save you money in the future. You can speak with a chimney expert today by calling 904-282-4159.

How Your Annual Inspection Can Prevent House Fires

Annual Chimney & Fireplace Inspection Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney, Inc.

Your fireplace is designed to hold your fire, and your chimney is designed to vent it. These two parts of the chimney system are made to work together. When both parts work correctly, the fire should be safe and efficient. When even one part of the system falls short, efficiency drops and fire risk goes up.

Preventative Maintenance

Both the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommend routine maintenance for a safe and efficient fire. That means that your chimney should be clean, and checked annually for damage and wear. Making these appointments and caring for your chimney system in this way ensures your fireplace and chimney lasts longer, is safer for your home and family, and is easier on the environment. This low-cost preventative service can save you thousands later.

What is a CSIA Inspection?

A CSIA inspection is an annual inspection to be completed by a CSIA certified chimney sweep. There are three levels of CSIA inspection:

  • Level 1 – To be completed annually when nothing has changed with the chimney system. This inspection includes all accessible portions of the chimney.
  • Level 2 – To be completed if a level 1 raises concern, if a change is made to the system, or if a home is being sold or transferred. This inspection includes all accessible portions as well as those accessed through hidden areas including attics and crawlspaces.
  • Level 3 – To be completed if a hazard is detected in a level 2 inspection. This inspection requires extra tools to remove components of the building, including walls and parts of the chimney if necessary.

Why Hire a Professional

By the time the average homeowner notices a problem with the chimney, the unseen damage has occurred. In some cases, devastating damages can occur inside the chimney itself, causing efficiency to drop, allowing hazardous gases and particle pollution into your home, and creating the perfect environment for a flue fire.

While you may be unaware, your fire is always coating your flue with soot and creosote. A minor chimney leak or the wrong type of wood burning in the fireplace can lead to a drop in efficiency. A drop in efficiency increases the amount of soot and creosote, leading to a buildup, and eventually a fire. Chimney leaks not only raise the risk of fire but also lead to damages to your home and even mold in the air you breathe. All of this and more can occur while you go on, unaware and in danger.

It’s our highest priority at Hudson Chimney to educate the community as well as our customers in and around Jacksonville about fire risk. Stay safe. Protect your family and your property. Hire a CSIA certified chimney expert today, and have Hudson Chimney complete your annual inspection.

Get Ahead Of The Crowd And Make Your Fall Inspection Appointment Now

Have you already had your chimney swept, inspected, and properly closed out for the off-season? If so, you’ve probably enjoyed the summer knowing it’s ready for burn season. Do you still have chimney work to be done? Schedule now and avoid the fall rush!

Make Your Fall Inspection Appointment Now Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson ChimneyAvoid the Fall Rush

The busy season between October and January is considered the fall rush. This is because chimney sweep companies are especially busy during this time. Fall and early winter keeps chimney sweeps busy on emergency calls, repairs, and installations. So, it is best to schedule routine maintenance like sweeps and inspections before this busy time of year. Get ahead of the crowd and schedule now. Waiting until fall can mean you are left in the cold! You could be unable to get the appointment time you need, the technician you want, or even the company you trust. Do not settle for second best. Schedule now! Hudson Chimney offers chimney services year-round for customer safety and convenience. We can sweep, inspect, and waterproof your chimney before burn season.

Preventative Maintenance

By scheduling preventative care now, you can avoid those emergency calls this winter. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend regular chimney sweeps and annual inspections, for the safest and most efficient chimneys. When your chimney is clean, parts work better, air flows better, and the fire is more effective. It produces less pollution, but more heat. When it’s dirty it raises fire risk and decreases efficiency. This means more creosote is produced, and flames are more likely to ignite debris and creosote in the flue.

Just as important as the sweep, the inspection can prevent catastrophic damage. Why? It’s the time when an experienced professional assesses the entire chimney system from top to bottom. The technician will report on weaknesses that can become serious hazards quickly. Minor damages are simpler and cheaper to repair now, and will prevent water damage and winter damage this next burn season.

Make Time for Repairs

By scheduling your inspection now, you allow time for necessary repairs before temperatures drop. There are 3 levels of CSIA inspections, each more thorough than the last. If you have a routine inspection (level 1) and it identifies a possible hazard, you will need a level 2, and possibly level 3 inspection. If your chimney requires a level 3 inspection, there is a serious hazard, and repairs are required. By starting this process now, you will have time for needed repairs before burn season, before schedules fill up, and before temperatures drop!

To schedule your diagnostic chimney inspection, you can call Jacksonville’s #1 choice for comprehensive chimney care! Call Hudson Chimney at 904-282-4159 or schedule online using our online form.

A Home Inspector Is Not Necessarily A Chimney Expert

To protect all parties and provide full disclosure to the prospective buyers prior to making the purchase, a chimney inspection should be scheduled. When a home-buyer finds their dream home, they want to know exactly what they’re getting. A standard home inspection will not thoroughly evaluate a chimney system. It can’t. Only a certified chimney expert has the training and experience to assess a chimney system, and present a valid report of their findings.

A Home Inspector Is Not Necessarily a Chimney Expert Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson ChimneyCSIA Inspections

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is the national standard for the chimney industry. CSIA certified chimney sweeps undergo extensive classroom and field training in order to meet this high standard. They also adhere to a stringent code of ethics to maintain certification. In addition, a re-examination or continued education every three years is required. These standards of education, training, and performance give them the capability to inspect chimneys and fireplaces of all kinds. Thus, giving them the CSIA signature desired by realtors, insurers, and code officers.

A standard home inspection is a visual observation the following:

  • plumbing
  • heating/cooling system
  • electrical and appliance systems
  • the roof
  • foundations
  • the basement
  • walls
  • doors
  • windows
  • chimneys

(Note: This assessment of the chimney is generally for structural soundness. It also doesn’t offer a report on the functionality of the chimney. Only a certified chimney sweep has the proper tools to assess the chimney system from top to bottom, inside and out, and offer a report of this kind.)

Level 2 CSIA Inspection

There are three levels of CSIA inspections required under different circumstances. The level 1 is the annual inspection required when no changes have been or will be made to the system. However, even if you had a level 1 inspection in the last year, a level 2 CSIA inspection is required before a sale or transfer of property. It is more thorough than a home inspection. It includes a visual inspection by video scanning of internal surfaces, and joints of the flue liner. This inspection includes everything in a level 1 inspection (standard annual inspection) plus the accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior (attics, basements, crawl spaces). It will also address proper clearances from combustibles in accessible locations.

The home inspector may be able to use tools to determine if a chimney is plumb. Also, observe visible damage such as spalling or leaks, but to a home inspector a brick looks like a brick. A certified chimney sweep can determine if a chimney is constructed of the correct materials. Additionally, they can tell if the size and shape of the smoke chamber and flue are up to code, and if there are unseen hazards.

It’s in both the seller and buyer’s best interest to have a level 2 chimney inspection completed by a certified chimney expert, before a sale. Before papers are signed, or money crosses hands, the chimney report should be included in the disclosure statement.

Unlike home inspection companies, CSIA’s main priority is safety and keeping families and individuals safe. As CSIA members and certified sweeps, Hudson Chimney shares this priority, which is why we offer chimney inspections year-round. To schedule yours, call 904-282-4159.

Is It Time For A Chase Cover Replacement?

Own a prefabricated chimney? Instead of a masonry chimney, crown and cap, you use a chase and chase cover! A chimney chase is a chimney with wood, metal, or vinyl siding in which the prefabricated chimney is inside this covering. The chase cover, or chase pan, is the metal equivalent to a mortar crown that typically sits atop a masonry chimney.

Time For A Chase Cover Replacement Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson ChimneyWhat Does the Chase Cover Do?

The chase cover, like the chimney (mortar) crown, keeps water out of the chimney. It’s vitally important that the chase cover is installed securely and properly. Why? So that it keeps water from penetrating the chimney! The chase cover is designed in such a way that water runs off of it, instead of pooling and causing rust and deterioration in the metal.

Typical Problems With the Chase Cover

Chase pans, or covers, typically last 5-15 years with routine maintenance and care. They are designed to withstand weather. However, they can become damaged by animals nesting and scratching the metal and creating a weak spot. Tropical storms and high winds can also damage a chase cover. This can quickly cause deterioration and allow water into the chimney, resulting in costly water damage.

Prefabricated chimneys are typically bundled in a sale. While the chimney may be high quality, the manufacturer doesn’t always use the best materials or design for the chase cover. When this happens, the chase cover doesn’t last as long as it should. It becomes damaged more quickly than expected and can be quite bothersome. This is why it’s important to choose a chimney sweep company that you know and trust!

Hudson Chimney has been serving the Jacksonville, Florida area for over 30 years. We know the area, the municipal codes, and the climate. When we install prefab systems, we use the best products, and finish with an inspection. We are happy to inspect your chimney – even if you recently had a prefab system installed by another chimney professional. Our aim is safety and efficiency for all our customers, new and old.

Let Us Help You

When Hudson Chimney assesses a chase cover for damage, a technician will first look for rust. This is something that you can look for as well. If you have seen rust stains running down your siding or along the edges of your chase cover, you most likely already have a problem. The cover will need to be replaced! Other signs of a damaged chase cover include: dripping, staining, or leaking inside the home around the chimney system – or even rooms away! Also, rusted parts such as the damper assembly, hinges on your door, and moldy or mildew-like smells from the fireplace.

If you’ve noticed signs of water damage, call a certified chimney sweep at Hudson Chimney to discuss your chase cover today. Do you have a masonry chimney? Ask about our custom chase pans for masonry chimneys. Call 904-282-4159 or use our online contact form!

Install a Chimney Cap to Keep Birds and Animals Out

Your chimney works constantly to vent harmful byproducts from your home, and it’s efficiency can be greatly affected by outside factors. The chimney cap is the remedy. The cap is designed to keep outside factors from getting in! It literally caps the top of the chimney, fitting over the flue, preventing weather and wildlife from getting in, and some models even prevent wind from affecting the flue as well.

Keep Birds and Animals Out Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson ChimneyKeep Wildlife Out of the Chimney

Without a chimney cap, your flue is the perfect home to a variety of small animals. Any critter that can climb to or land on your roof can also climb into the chimney opening. Critters love the chimney because it’s dry, warm, and seemingly safe. What we know as humans, though, is that it’s not safe. It’s unsafe for the animals as well as for the humans.

  • Animals leave debris behind.
    Debris is left behind in the chimney even after the animals leave. Birds leave their nests and feathers behind, and chipmunks and squirrels leave their bedding and food crumbs. Nests, leaves, feathers, and other debris can and will ignite, causing a flue fire that is very preventable.
  • Animals leave droppings behind.
    Droppings left inside the chimney flue can release toxins into the air that your family breathes. It can also result in foul smells that disrupt your life, especially during the summer when the chimney isn’t being used.
  • Animals scratch the lining of the chimney.
    When small animals climb out of the chimney, they often scratch the liner with their claws. This can be a serious problem because the scratch is a weakness in the liner that may go unnoticed, allowing heat and hazardous gasses to escape the flue and transfer to the home. The scratch can also collect excess soot and creosote, causing more deterioration in an already weak spot.
  • Animals can get stuck.
    When an animal cannot get out of the chimney, it will get stuck and die, resulting in a blockage and a nasty odor. There is no mistaking the smell of decomposition, and if this occurs in your home, it will overpower everything else.
  • Some animals cannot be removed.
    A species of migratory birds called chimney swifts nest in chimneys throughout North America during the spring months. Since this bird is federally protected, not even a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) can legally remove them. While some homeowners opt to allow the birds access to their chimneys, it is best to prevent their entrance in the first place. Hundreds of birds can inhabit the same chimney, and they are a loud and raucous little group. They will stay in the chimney until their eggs are hatched and young-lings can fly, which can be months.

You can still enjoy wildlife, while not allowing them to enjoy your chimney!

To avoid housing the forest’s friends, you should schedule a chimney sweep as early as possible after burning season is over, and then close out the system for the season. Be sure to have your chimney sweep check that the cap is intact. At Hudson Chimney, we install a variety of custom and standard caps, and all of them can keep animals out of your flue.

Call Hudson today at 904-282-4159 to discuss what a new chimney cap can do for you!

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