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How to Save on Heating Bills

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 04:00 PM PST

During the winter months, heating your house is often necessary. Unfortunately, it is also often expensive. There are some ways you can save your home heating bill, though. Free fixes such as adjusting your thermostat and closing the fireplace damper can help reduce your bill quickly and easily, while upgrades such as energy-efficient HVAC systems and storm windows can help you save a lot of money in the long run. With just a few adjustments, you can start saving on your monthly heating bill and still keep warm.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Lowering Your Heating Costs For Free

  1. Turn down the thermostat. One way to lower your heating bill is by simply using less heat. Turning down your thermostat by even small amount for short periods of time can help you save on heating.
    Save on Heating Bills Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • One option is to turn the heat down by about three degrees whenever you use your heat. For every degree or so you turn your heat down, you are looking at between two and three percent savings on your monthly bill.[1]
    • Another option is to turn your heat down when you're not around. A seven to ten degree reduction in heat for eight hours a day can save you up to ten percent on your monthly bill. Turn your heat down when you are at work or out of the house to help save.[2]
    • Bundle up in warm clothes and blankets when you turn down the temperature to help keep you warm even when it is a bit colder in your home.
  2. Minimize exhaust fans. Exhaust fans actively pull the hot air that rises to the ceiling out of the house. Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans sparingly. Shut them off immediately after use.[3]
    Save on Heating Bills Step 2 Version 3.jpg
    • For moments when exhaust fans are necessary, try not to run more than one at once.
    • Use exhaust fans for the minimal amount of time it takes to ventilate the space. Do not leave them running for extended periods of time. Switch to regular fans or other forms of moving air as soon as possible.
  3. Close the fireplace damper. Heat rises, so an open damper allows the heated air to escape from the house. Keep the damper closed unless you have an active fire to prevent unnecessary drafts.[4]
    Save on Heating Bills Step 3 Version 3.jpg
    • Remember to extinguish a fire completely and let the smoke dissipate before closing the damper.
    • Open the damper immediately before you light a fire in your fireplace. Forgetting to do so may cause smoke to build up in your home.
  4. Keep heating vents clear. Vents blocked by rugs or furniture prevent the heated air from circulating through the house. Remove any obstacles around heating vents, as well as those around radiators or baseboard heaters.[5]
    Save on Heating Bills Step 4 Version 3.jpg
    • Avoid putting large pieces of furniture in front of vents, as well as on top of them. This may still diminish the flow of warm air around the room.
  5. Turn on ceiling fans. Since heat rises, the air around the ceilings in your home is warmer than the air closer to the floors. Set the ceiling fan to low so it gently pushes the hot air back down. If you run the fan too high, the air will cool as it circulates.[6]
    Save on Heating Bills Step 5 Version 3.jpg
    • If possible, put your fan in reverse mode to give it a clockwise rotation. This is a manufacturer-installed setting on some fans. Running your fan in reverse help push the warm air down from the ceiling and draw up cool air from the floor.
  6. Use window covers. Uncover your windows in your home during the day so the sun can warm your house. Close your curtains, blinds, or drapes at night to help prevent warm air from escaping.[7]
    Save on Heating Bills Step 6 Version 3.jpg
    • If you do not currently have window coverings, you can make temporary ones for the winter by hanging a blanket or sheet up in front of your window.

[Edit]Modifying Your Home to Conserve Heat

  1. Caulk around windows. In time, old caulking dries up, shrinks, and cracks to create air leaks. Removing old caulking around your windows and replacing it with new, weather-resistant caulking can help stop some of those leaks.[8]
    Save on Heating Bills Step 7 Version 3.jpg
    • You can buy caulk stripping tools as well as easy to apply, weather resistant caulking from your local home improvement store.
    • Always remove old caulking whenever possible before applying a new caulk.
    • After you've piped the new caulking around your window, be sure to use a smoothing tool to flatten the new caulk and distribute it evenly across your window frame. This helps better block air leaks.
  2. Use door sweeps. If you notice a gap between the bottom of your exterior doors and their frames, use door sweeps to seal their leaks. Door sweeps can be found online or at most home improvement and hardware stores.[9]
    Save on Heating Bills Step 8 Version 3.jpg
    • Most door sweeps are easy to install. Simply slide them on from the side underneath the base of your door and then screw on.
    • You may want to use them on interior doors, too, if you notice that cold air tends to travel rapidly from one room to another.
  3. Insulate your attic. Add extra insulation in your attic to prevent heat from escaping through the ceiling. Check the insulation in the attic and look for areas that are stained dark. The dark areas are created by dirt and dust and will show you the spots where air is leaking through. Replace or add insulation in those areas.[10]
    Save on Heating Bills Step 9 Version 3.jpg
    • If you plan on doing this project yourself, lay fiberglass rolls, and use metal mesh to create barriers around areas that need to be exposed such as vents.
    • Remember to wear protective gear such as goggles, gloves, and a mask when installing insulation.

[Edit]Upgrading Your Home Fixtures to Save Heat

  1. Maintain your furnace. Replace the filter on your furnace according to manufacturer suggestions to keep it working efficiently. If you think your furnace is not working properly, call a maintenance technician to have it inspected.
    Save on Heating Bills Step 10 Version 3.jpg
    • Keeping your furnace clean and properly adjusted can save you up to five percent on your monthly heating bill.
  2. Buy energy efficient appliances. Keep energy conservation in mind when replacing items in your home. Energy-efficient appliances and furnaces cost an average of 15 percent less to run than older models.[11]
    Save on Heating Bills Step 11 Version 3.jpg
    • Have your HVAC equipment evaluated every ten years to make sure it is performing well.
    • You may also want to consider installing a programmable thermostat or a smart thermostat so that you can ensure the heat only kicks on when you want it to. You'll find them starting at around thirty bucks, but some are as much as a hundred.
  3. Install storm windows. If you have the funds available, install windows rated for winter weather. Storm windows can be purchased from a window installer, contractor, or home improvement store.[12]
    Save on Heating Bills Step 12 Version 3.jpg
    • Unless you are an experienced professional, it is best to have a contractor or window technician install new windows around your home.
    • If you cannot afford storm windows, consider using plastic sheeting or shrink wrap around your windows to create an extra barrier for the cold air. Make sure the adhesive used to hold up the plastic goes all the way around the window with no gaps to let cold air in.
    • During the winter months, move beds and other furniture away from exterior walls, which are typically the coldest spots in the house.

[Edit]Video

[Edit]Tips

  • Get a professional in for a checkup. You can keep your heater running efficiently longer with appropriate heater maintenance.

[Edit]Related wikiHows

[Edit]References

How to Treat Dry Eyes Naturally

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 08:00 AM PST

Dry eyes can cause a lot of discomfort, so you likely want relief fast. You may be able to moisten your eyes using home treatments, particularly castor oil eye drops. Additionally, lifestyle and dietary changes may help treat your dry eyes. If eye inflammation is causing your dry eyes, wash your eyelids to help reduce the inflammation and unclog your tear ducts. However, talk to your doctor before you use natural treatments and if your symptoms don't improve.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Using Home Treatments

  1. Apply a warm compress to your eyes for 10 minutes to relieve dry eyes. A warm compress can help with the discomfort caused by dry eyes and may help stimulate tear production. To make a warm compress, soak a washcloth in warm water and wring out the excess. Then, close your eyes and drape the compress over them. Relax for 10 minutes as the warmth from the compress soothes your eyes.[1]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 1.jpg
    • Repeat up to 3 times a day as needed to relieve dry eyes.
    • Don't use hot water because you could burn your eyes.
  2. Choose eye drops meant for dry eyes. Use eye drops up to 4 times a day or as directed by your doctor. To apply them, tilt your head back and squeeze 1-2 drops into your eyes. Blink to distribute the eye drops across your eye.[2]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 2.jpg
    • Read and follow the directions on your eye drops. Don't use more eye drops that directed on the label.
    • You could also try castor oil eye drops if regular eye drops don't help. These are also available over-the-counter and you use them the same way as normal eye drops.
  3. Skip redness reducing drops because they dry out your eyes. Unfortunately, eye drops that reduce redness can increase dryness and worsen your condition. Don't use these types of drops in your eyes. Instead, talk to your doctor if you're concerned about eye redness.[3]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 3.jpg

[Edit]Making Lifestyle Changes for Dry Eyes

  1. Blink often when reading or staring at a computer screen. When you're staring at something, you blink less often, which causes dry eyes. Increasing how often you blink may help distribute your oily tears better so that your eyes are less dry. Be mindful of how often you're blinking so that you're able to do it more often.[4]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 4.jpg
    • Try setting a reminder every 30 minutes to an hour to help you remember to be more mindful about blinking.
    • Take breaks from looking at screens and focusing on things close up, such as while reading. Look off at something in the distance for a few minutes every hour to help relax your eyes.
  2. Sleep 7-9 hours a night to ensure your body can make enough tears. Being tired contributes to dry eyes in 2 ways. Lack of sleep may reduce how many tears your body produces, and tired eyes are more likely to feel dry and itchy. Fortunately, getting more shut-eye can help you find relief. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day to ensure you get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night.[5]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 5.jpg
    • Follow a sleep routine before bed to help you wind down. For instance, you might take a shower, put on pajamas, and read a chapter of a book.
    • Turn off all screens at least an hour before bed because the blue light that they emit can make it hard for you to fall asleep.
  3. Wear sunglasses on windy days to prevent your eyes from drying out. Wind is a common environmental cause of dry eyes. Fortunately, it's easy to protect your eyes from it. Cover your eyes with sunglasses so the wind is less likely to dry them out. This may help relieve your dry eye symptoms.[6]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 6.jpg
    • Make sure the sunglasses are big enough to cover your entire eye area. An oversized pair or wrap-around pair will work best.
  4. Use a humidifier in your home and work space to moisten the air. Dry air is a common cause of dry eyes, but increasing the humidity can help. Use a warm or cool-mist humidifier at home and work to help relieve your dry eyes. Fill the humidifier with plain water and run it as needed to soothe your eyes.[7]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 7.jpg
  5. Massage gently over your closed eyelids to stimulate tear production. Your eyes may be dry because you aren't making enough tears. To help increase tear production, close your eyes and give your eyelids a gentle massage with the pads of your fingers. Starting in the outer corner of your eye, lightly touch your eyelids and make slow, circular motions as you work your way to the inner corner of your eye.[8]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 8.jpg
    • This massage won't make you start crying, but it should help your eyes produce more lubricating tears.
  6. Stop smoking because it can dry out your eyes. Smoking contains chemicals that can contribute to dry eyes, and the smoke itself may dry out your eyes. Quitting can be really hard, so talk to your doctor about using quitting aids. Additionally, recruit an accountability partner or join a support group to help you stay on track.[9]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 9.jpg
    • Your doctor might offer you quitting aids like gum, patches, lozenges, or a prescription medication.
  7. Avoid using mascara or eye makeup while your eyes are irritated. Eye makeup can increase irritation, so you may want to skip it until your eye dryness has resolved. If you don't want to stop wearing eye makeup, try switching to an organic brand of eye makeup and always wash your eye makeup off completely at the end of the day.
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 10.jpg

[Edit]Relieving Dry Eyes with Dietary Changes

  1. Drink of fluid daily to stay hydrated. If you're dehydrated, your eyes can't produce enough tears to keep your eyes lubricated, which causes dry eyes. Keep your body hydrated by drinking at least of fluids daily. Carry a water bottle with you so you can sip on it throughout the day. Additionally, eat moisture-rich foods like fruits and soup.[10]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 11.jpg
    • Track your fluid consumption to make sure you're drinking enough.
  2. Increase your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids to help tear production. Omega-3 fatty acids may help relieve dry eyes, but there's no proof that they'll work for you. Since Omega-3s are an essential component of a healthy diet, there's no harm in trying them. Eat 2-3 servings of salmon, sardines, or flaxseeds weekly to meet your needs. Alternatively, take a supplement if your doctor says it's okay.[11]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 12.jpg
    • Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. They can help you decide if a supplement is right for you and can recommend the best option for you.
  3. Sip on of coffee daily to help relieve dryness. Coffee may help relieve dry eye symptoms if you drink it daily. However, consuming too much caffeine may also make you dehydrated, so stick to daily.[12]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 13.jpg
    • If you don't want to consume caffeine, choose decaf coffee instead.
  4. Cut back on alcohol because it dries out your eyes. Alcohol is very dehydrating, so it may decrease your tear production. If you drink regularly, it may contribute to dry eyes. Limit how often you consume alcohol to help your eyes recover and prevent future episodes of dry eyes.[13]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 14.jpg
    • Talk to your doctor about how much alcohol is okay for you to drink. General advice is for women to drink up to 1 serving of alcohol a day and for men to drink up to 2 servings of alcohol a day.

[Edit]Washing Your Eyelids to Treat Inflammation

  1. Wet a washcloth with warm water. Hold a clean washcloth under running warm water. Then, squeeze out the excess water so that the washcloth is just damp.[14]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 15.jpg
    • Don't use hot water because you may accidentally burn yourself.
  2. Drape the washcloth across your closed eyes for 5 minutes. Fold the washcloth, then close your eyes. Set a timer, lay the washcloth over your eyes, and rest for 5 minutes.[15]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 16.jpg
    • The warmth from the washcloth will loosen any debris around your eyes and help unclog your tear ducts.
  3. Rub the area around your lashlines with the washcloth. Gently wipe around your eye to clean it. Pay special attention to your eyelids and areas were debris is present.[16]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 17.jpg
    • You don't need to get a new washcloth.
  4. Massage mild, fragrance-free soap into closed eyelids. Apply a dab of mild soap or tear-free baby shampoo to your fingertips. Close your eyes and gently rub the soap over your eyelids, using circular motions. Be careful that you don't get the soap into your eyes.[17]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 18.jpg
    • If you press too hard, you might force the soap down into your eye. Keep your touch light and gentle.
  5. Rinse your eyes thoroughly and pat them dry with a clean towel. Use your hands to splash lukewarm water over your eyes. Continue to rinse your eyes thoroughly to remove all of the suds. Then, dab your eyes dry with a clean towel.[18]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 19.jpg
  6. Repeat once a day or as directed by your doctor. Talk to your doctor to find out how often you need to wash your eyes. Typically, washing your eyelids daily will help treat eye inflammation and prevent future recurrences. However, you may not need to wash them as often once your eye inflammation goes away.[19]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 20.jpg

[Edit]When to Seek Medical Care

  1. Visit your doctor to find out what's causing your dry eyes. There are many different causes of dry eyes, and the best treatment for you will depend on the underlying cause of your condition. See your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and discuss your treatment options. Tell your doctor that you want to focus on natural treatments.[20]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 21.jpg
    • For instance, your eyes might be dry because of inadequate tears or poor quality tears. Natural treatments may help these underlying causes.
    • Medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid problems may also cause dry eyes. You might not get relief unless you treat these underlying conditions.
  2. Ask your doctor before using natural treatments and supplements. While natural treatments and supplements are generally safe, they aren't right for everyone. Talk to your doctor before you use them to find out if they're a good fit for you. Additionally, discuss dosage recommendations with your doctor to help you use supplements safely.[21]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 22.jpg
    • Tell your doctor if you're hoping to use supplements or castor oil eye drops to treat dry eyes.
  3. Discuss other treatments with your doctor if your symptoms don't improve. While natural treatments, lifestyle changes, and dietary additions may relieve your dry eye symptoms, it's possible that your condition will persist. If you continue to experience dry eyes, talk to your doctor to find out about other treatment options that might work for you.[22]
    Treat Dry Eyes Naturally Step 23.jpg
    • You may need to treat an underlying medical condition. Additionally, your doctor might prescribe eye drops to help relieve your symptoms.

[Edit]Tips

  • If you wear contacts for a long period of time, you may experience dry eyes. Take out your contacts earlier in the day and wear your back-up glasses if this is a concern for you.

[Edit]References

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-fix-for-dry-eyes-2017021011090
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371869
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371869
  4. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/dry-eye
  5. https://www.goodeyes.com/blog/home-remedies-dry-eyes/
  6. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/dry-eye
  7. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/dry-eye
  8. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-fix-for-dry-eyes-2017021011090
  9. https://www.goodeyes.com/blog/home-remedies-dry-eyes/
  10. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/dry-eye
  11. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/dry-eye
  12. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-fix-for-dry-eyes-2017021011090
  13. https://www.goodeyes.com/blog/home-remedies-dry-eyes/
  14. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371869
  15. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371869
  16. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371869
  17. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371869
  18. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371869
  19. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371869
  20. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/dry-eye
  21. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371869
  22. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371869

How to Fix a Bicycle Tire Puncture

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 12:00 AM PST

All kinds of things can puncture your bicycle tire when you're out on a ride. A puncture hole is an inconvenience, but fortunately, it's easy to fix with the right tools and tricks. First, remove the tire and locate the hole in the tube. Use a patch kit to glue a patch onto the hole. Inflate the tube to check your work, then reattach the tire to the wheel. You'll be back riding in no time.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Finding the Puncture

  1. Take the tire and tube off the wheel. Remove the wheel by unfastening the handle holding the axle in place. Then, use a tire lever to get the tire off. Insert the lever between the tire and the rim and work it around. When the tire comes off, pull the tube out.[1]

    Fix a Bicycle Tire Puncture Step 1.jpg
    • It may be easier to remove the tube if you let all of the air out.
  2. Remove the object that punctured the tire if it's still there. If the object is still there, it could re-puncture the tube when you replace it, wasting all your work. Sometimes finding the object is easy, like if a nail is sticking out of the tire. Other times, glass or small rocks get trapped inside the tire, so shake the tire out to get rid of any loose objects.[2]

    • Gently run your fingers along the inside of the tire to free any embedded objects. If you have gloves, put them on to protect your fingers from cuts.
    • Check the surface of the tube as well.
  3. Pump up the tube and look for the hole. Finding the hole is difficult if the tube is deflated. Hook a pump to the tube and fill it with air. Then do a visual check for the hole. If the hole is large, it should be easy to see. Check along the entire surface of the tube for obvious holes.[3]
    Fix a Bicycle Tire Puncture Step 3.jpg
    • Don't stop looking when you find the first hole. If an object got inside the tire, it could leave multiple holes, so be sure to check the entire tube.
  4. Listen for air escaping if you can't see the hole. If the hole is too small to see with a visual check, bring the tube up to your ear. Give it a light squeeze to force the air out, and listen for a "seeping" sound to hear where it escapes from. Then, use these signs to locate the hole.[4]
    Fix a Bicycle Tire Puncture Step 4.jpg
    • You still might not be able to pinpoint the hole, even if you hear the seeping sound. Use the water method to find its exact location.
  5. Dunk the tube into a filled sink to see where bubbles come up from. If you still can't find the hole, fill a sink with water and place the tube inside. Squeeze it so air escapes, and then check where bubbles rise up from. When you see the bubbles, you have an exact location for the hole.[5]

    • This trick is useful if you know roughly where the hole is but can't pinpoint it. The bubbles give you an exact location.
    • This won't be possible if you get a flat tire while out biking, so try your best to listen for escaping air in that case.
  6. Mark the hole so you don't lose it. If you're dealing with a small hole, it can be hard to see, so making a mark on the tube will make it easier to find the area you need to repair again. Some patch kits come with a piece of chalk, so use this and draw a circle around the hole. Otherwise, use a marker.[6]

    • Don't use a pen or pencil. These could make another hole in the tube.

[Edit]Patching the Hole

  1. Sand the rubber around the hole to help the glue adhere. Most patch kits come with a small piece of sandpaper to rough up the rubber and provide more surface area for the glue to bond to. Take the sandpaper and lightly rub it around the hole. Stop when the rubber changes color slightly.[7]

    • If your patch kit doesn't come with sandpaper, then use a coarse-grain sandpaper around 100-grit.
  2. Apply patching glue with your finger. Squeeze a dab of patching glue on your finger and rub it around the hole. Apply a section that's roughly the same size as the patch you're using.[8]

    • Don't use too much glue or the tube could stick to the inside of the tire when you put them both back on the wheel.
    • The glue rubs off of skin when it dries. If it doesn't come off, wash your hands with soap and warm water.
  3. Let the glue sit for 30-60 seconds. Once the glue hits the air, it gets tacky and stickier. It reaches its peak stickiness after about a minute, so let the glue sit for that amount of time before placing the patch down. Otherwise it won't stick as well.[9]
    Fix a Bicycle Tire Puncture Step 9.jpg
  4. Press the patch onto the hole. Remove the foil on the back of the patch like a sticker. Align the patch so its center is directly over the hole, then press it down. Hold the patch for 1 minute so it adheres to the glue.[10]

    • Be careful not to get the back of the patch dirty. Any dirt or debris will prevent a tight seal.
  5. Inflate the tube to make sure the seal is tight. Connect the tube to the pump and re-inflate it. Listen around the patch for any air escaping. If you don't hear any seeping sounds, then the seal is tight enough.[11]

    • For another test, submerge the tube in a full sink and check if you see any air bubbles. If not, then the seal is tight.
  6. Place the tube and tire back onto the wheel. First, tuck the tube into the tire. Then check the tire for any arrows indicating which direction it should be installed in. Insert the valve plug straight through the hole on the wheel. Work around the wheel and press the tire into the beads on the wheel. Then put the wheel back on the bike.[12]

    • Check to make sure no parts of the tube are sticking out from under the tire. If it is, use a tire elver to push it back in.
    • Make sure the valve plug points straight out of the tire. If it's crooked, it could get damaged.

[Edit]Things You'll Need

  • Tire patch kit
  • Tire lever
  • Coarse sandpaper

[Edit]Warnings

  • Always start riding slowly after doing any bike repairs. This will catch any problems, like the tire being installed incorrectly.

[Edit]References

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