Month: October 2019

Pollution Control in Boilers

In recent years (data available to 2017), the United States saw significant improvements in air quality across the entire country. All of the major pollutants decreased in concentration over the study period including sulfur dioxide (SO2) down 79%, nitrogen dioxide (NOx) down 35%, and PM2.5 particles down 41%. The United States achieved these reductions through new environmental legislation, enforcement of existing laws like the Clean Air Act, and the advancement of pollution control technologies all while the nation’s economy grew and industrial capacity expanded.

As identified in an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report, a major source of air pollution is the burning of fossil fuels in industrial factories or boilers for power generation. The EPA warns that residuals from burning coal (coal ash) are “one of the largest types of industrial waste generated in the United States.” Burning coal is an inherently dirty process and federal limits restrict the concentrations of SO2, NOx, and PM2.5 discharged to the atmosphere. Modern boiler design and pollution reduction technologies are available so that plants can provide heat or electrical power at reasonable costs while still being compliant with environmental regulations.

Pollution control in coal-fired boilers can occur at all stages of the combustion process: pre-combustion, during combustion, and post-combustion.


The selection of fuel to burn in the boiler is the first opportunity to reduce flue gas contaminants. For example, natural gas burns cleaner than fuel oil, medical waste, or biomass and produces the least amount of pollutants in its flue gas. Natural gas is considered a low-nitrogen fuel and yields very little NOx as a by-product of combustion. Also, as the EPA notes in its technical bulletin on controlling NOx that “natural gas is desulfurized before it is sent in a pipeline. Therefore, natural gas has almost no sulfur, essentially no impurities, and no ash.”

During combustion

The moment fuel and air ignite presents an opportunity to fine-tune the stoichiometry of the combustion process and the by-products of that reaction. With flue gas recirculation (FGR) a portion of the flue gas is sent back to the combustion chamber diluting the oxygen level of the combustion air, reducing the core flame temperature. The reduced temperature lowers the NOx level in the flue gases to below 20%. Cleaver-Brooks describes FGR as “the most effective and popular low NOx technology for firetube and watertube boilers. “

A fluidized bed recirculation (FBR) boiler burns crushed coal, wood or other low-grade fuels sitting on a sand bed within the boiler fireside. Combustion air is blown up through the bottom of the sand bed and mixes with the fuel on top of the sand where combustion occurs. This boiler design results in a fast mix of air and fuel and encourages rapid heat transfer. The burning environment gives a cleaner burn with reduced quantities of NOx and SO2 in the flue gases. SO2 emissions can be reduced further by introducing pulverized limestone into the combustion chamber. Sulfur in the flue gasses reacts with the limestone to form gypsum that, when separated from the fly ash, can be used to make other saleable products.


Coal ash leaving the combustion chamber can be captured and particulate pollutants removed before being released to the atmosphere.

One method for capturing fine particles like PM2.5 is to pass boiler flue gases through an electrostatic precipitator (ESP). With an ESP the flue gas flows across high-voltage wires that electrically charge fine particles suspended in the gas. The charged particles are attracted to a collection electrode, such as a series of metal pipes or plates, and accumulate on the electrode surface. ESP’s remove more than 95% of PM2.5 particles from coal flue gas and more complex ESP systems have removal efficiencies approaching 99%. To maintain such high levels, the collection electrodes should be cleaned per the manufacturer’s recommendations to minimize the thickness of fly ash buildup on the surface.

Cyclonic or cyclone fly ash separators (not to be confused with a cyclone furnace) are another method to remove fine particles from coal boiler flue gas. A cyclone separator works by blowing flue gasses against the interior wall of a cylindrical vessel. The gas enters the vessel near the top and circulates inside like a tornado. The centrifugal forces of the rotating flue gas push the fine particles to the outside of the “tornado.” The particles hit the interior surface and fall to the bottom to be collected while clean flue gas exits the vessel at the top. Although the efficiency of a cyclone separator may reach 90%, they are rarely used alone to meet EPA standards for particulate discharge. Most cyclone separators are used in conjunction with other technology like an FBR boiler to achieve the desired particulate concentrations. The clean flue gas can be analyzed to provide insight into the overall efficiency of the boiler and heat transfer processes inside.

The EPA’s 2018 report Our Clean Air summarizes things nicely, “The U.S. leads the world in having clean air and a strong economy due to implementation of the Clean Air Act and technological advancements from American innovators.” The power industry, pollution control manufacturers, and the EPA have a strong record of working together to create reliable electrical power while reducing atmospheric contaminants and improving the quality of the air we .

Power plant maintenance involves not only cleaning the boilers and chimneys, but servicing the heat exchangers, chillers, and condensers throughout the facility. In fuel storage areas, vacuums and power tools need to have explosion-proof motors to protect people from the dangers of coal and wood dust. Goodway offers a variety of power plant maintenance technologies that are safe and easy for technicians to use in any area of the plant.

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The Benefits of an Air On Demand Air Conditioning Unit

ductless-air-conditioner-air-handler-remote-controlledWhen you have to purchase a new air conditioning unit, whether for a brand new install or to replace an old system, you want to make sure that your new one is worth your investment. After all, purchasing a cheaper unit that doesn’t work as well or is less energy efficient will simply ending up costing you more cash in the long run (but you already knew that).

The current problem you may be facing is which one to choose. There really are a lot of brands and types of air conditioners to select from and it can make a lot of consumers feel overloaded by the plethora of options.

We might be able to give you some clarity in this arena because we know the benefits that come with an Air On Demand American-made unit! If you would like to learn more about these units being offered by our Miami air conditioning company, read on (and, should the urge strike you, reach out to us to schedule an appointment for an installation).

What Benefits Come With an Air On Demand AC Unit?

There are several benefits that come with opting for one of our top-of-the-line air conditioning units. We want you to know about them to help you decide what you should look for in your next (or new) AC system.

  • Sizing That Fits Your Home. Whether you have a small home with small demands or a large home that needs an AC unit that can really deliver on those hot Miami days, we have an AC system that will work for you. With a wide range of options for sizing, you can rest assured that an Air On Demand unit can be found that will meet your cooling needs.
  • Great Energy Efficiency. Energy efficiency is important when it comes to keeping your home cool because higher efficiency helps you save cash. That is why our systems all come with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of up to 19. This rating measures the ratio of a unit’s cooling output compared to how much energy it consumes so the higher the number is, the better!
  • Split or Packaged for Optimal Home Comfort. Not only are Air On Demand units able to fit whatever home cooling needs you have, but they can also be sold split or packaged to ensure you get the system you want.
  • Comes With a Lifetime Warranty. Yes, you read that right. The units that we offer come with a lifetime warranty so your AC system will be taken care of no matter what.

The units that we offer are a step above the rest. Even better, they are all American-Made meaning that when you opt to install an Air On Demand unit, you are supporting the good ol’ USA. If you are still having trouble deciding what system would be best for you, an Air On Demand air conditioning dealer will be happy to help you.

Schedule an appointment for an AC unit installation or replacement today. Air On Demand makes sure you have cool air whenever you need it.

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Best Tips When Choosing a Thermostat

As the seasons change and you prepare for cooler weather in Freeport, Texas, it’s important to consider your HVAC system in the home. Fall is the ideal time to improve and upgrade your system to keep everyone comfortable during the months ahead. One of the best ways to keep your home comfortable is to upgrade the thermostat on your HVAC system.

Non-Programmable Thermostat

Do fancy high-tech setups confuse you? Perhaps you’re interested in a more affordable option. A non-programmable thermostat is a great way to control the comfort levels in your home. All you have to do is manually adjust the settings when you wish to change the temperature in your house. It’s perfect during transition seasons like fall.

Programmable Thermostat

If you prefer to schedule your temperature according to your daily patterns, a programmable thermostat will suit you better. It automatically sets your desired temperature for the times that you schedule. A programmable thermostat helps you to save money by being more energy-efficient. It also makes sure that your family and pets are always comfortable in your home.

Wi-Fi or Remote Access

Smart thermostats with Wi-Fi and remote access are the most convenient way to go in controlling your temperature adjustments. An app on your smart device allows you to check on your home temperature and make changes from wherever you are. Apart from the convenience of being able to change the setting on your way home from vacation, there are other benefits.

Should something go wrong with your system, you’ll receive a warning. Your text or app alert allows you to make the necessary arrangements as soon as possible. In your busy schedule, you may overlook filter changes or regular maintenance of your system. Once again, the app will remind you so that your comfort is not compromised.

Our range of thermostats has something to suit every family. Call Davis Air Conditioning and Heating at 888-929-0049 for advice on the most suitable thermostat for your HVAC system.

Image provided by Shutterstock

3 Places Asthma Triggers Hide

Clean indoor air is important in your Crystal River, Florida, home. For people with asthma and other respiratory sensitivity, it’s vital to keep your home free of pollutants to keep your loved ones safe and healthy. Here are three places asthma triggers hide, and some HVAC solutions to help mitigate the irritation.

Dust Mites in Bedding and Furniture

Dust mites are microscopic insects that live in the upholstered furniture, bedding, and rugs where humans frequent. Vigilant vacuuming and laundering can help, as well as protective covers for pillows and mattresses. Where an especially sensitive person sleeps, eliminate carpet or rugs if possible. A thorough duct cleaning may be needed to increase ventilation and help alleviate this trigger in your home.

Outdoor Pollution

If you live in an area with a lot of vegetation, spring and fall are especially difficult times for allergy sufferers. Respiratory reactions to pollen and grasses can trigger asthma attacks, not to mention cause watery eyes and stuffy noses. Though temperate weather might make you want to throw the windows open, your home’s HVAC is designed to filter outdoor pollutants and it may be better for sensitive people to keep the house sealed and let the HVAC filter it out of the air for you.

Pet Dander

We love our furry friends, but when they live indoors and shed their fur and dander, breathing it can be an asthma trigger. If you change your air filter regularly (every 60 days with pets), you’ll find it collects a lot of the fur and dander for you.

If you’re cleaning frequently, changing filters on a schedule, and still have asthma trigger concerns, an indoor air cleaner may be the right solution for your home. Options range from a high-efficiency filter installed in the air handler to an air purifier that traps up to 95% of the tiniest pollutants and neutralizes them with an electrical charge.

At Senica Air Conditioning, we can recommend the right indoor air quality product, and then set up a maintenance agreement with you to ensure it and all the other components of your HVAC work properly. Call us today at 866-881-5935.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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How to Reduce Your Bill This Winter

When the winter rolls in and the temperatures fall, heating bills begin to rise. Although Arizona is known for its hot summer conditions, keeping your home warm during the cold winter months can still be a tricky process.

Luckily, there are ways to reduce heat bill costs with minimal effort and cost to the homeowner. If you own a home in the Phoenix, Arizona, area, and worry about the rising costs of your heating bill this winter, you can use some of these easy tips to help you stay warm without breaking the bank.


Adjust Your Thermostat

Most homeowners use a standard temperature setting for cooling and another one for heating. These numbers are often arbitrary based on recommendations and not necessarily the perfect temperature for your family.

Just a setting change of a few degrees can make a major impact on your heating bill. To find your family’s sweet spot in the wintertime, adjust the setting by one degree at a time until you feel like the house is at an acceptably comfortable temperature.

You may be surprised that you prefer the home a few degrees cooler than your typical setting. You can also make slight lifestyle modifications like wearing long sleeves or adding blankets around the house.


Use Natural Lighting

If your home has a lot of natural light that you block with curtains or blinds during the summertime, doing the exact opposite during the winter can help naturally warm some rooms in your home.

This is especially true for windows that will receive direct sunlight in the afternoon hours. Allowing natural sunlight to help warm windows can reduce the amount of energy it takes to keep your home at a warmer temperature, reducing your heating costs at the same time.


Keep Up with Home Maintenance

Some homeowners treat the symptoms of poor home maintenance instead of the cause, but this leads to unnecessary heating costs. Some easy home maintenance upkeep can save you money on both heating and cooling costs, so be sure to check on these items if you notice your bills have been climbing.

Window and door weather sealing. You can add weather stripping to doors that lead to your home’s exterior and your windows. This is an inexpensive way to reduce the amount of heat that is lost through the gaps, so your HVAC does not need to work as hard to keep your home warm.

HVAC cleaning. If your HVAC system has too much dust and debris, it can restrict the airflow in your home and make your system work harder than it needs to in order to maintain the temperature setting. In addition to replacing filters regularly, having your Phoenix home heating company come out to inspect and clean your system can help it run more efficiently and save you money in the long run.

Fireplace damper inspection. If you have a fireplace in your home, you probably already know that the damper should be closed when not in use to prevent cold air from coming in and your interior heat from escaping. If you feel a draft near your fireplace, you should have it inspected to make sure the damper is in good shape and is sealing properly.


Reduce Your Heating Costs Today

If you are looking for ways to keep your heating costs down this winter, contact Howard Air today to ask questions about HVAC maintenance or repair for the HVAC unit in your home.

This Phoenix area HVAC service will inspect your system to make sure it is running efficiently and can help you save money on the cost of heating your home. Set up an appointment for a consultation with our team of experts today before the cold weather sets in.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Kishivan

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How to Troubleshoot Air Conditioner Problems

Central air conditioning is one of those wonderful modern marvels that makes our interiors cool and comfortable. They run in the background of our lives until they break down and then all things hot and humid come inside. Unfortunately, such breakdowns and mishaps seem to occur most frequently during the muggiest days of the year. 

While there are hundreds of factors that can contribute to a malfunctioning air conditioner, many of which require assistance by a professional HVAC contractor, there are a few common causes that can be fairly easy to diagnose.

Common AC Issues

The following are some of those most frequently reported air conditioner problems and what to do when you experience them.

Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On

An electrical problem is the number one cause of non-functioning air conditioners. Start with simple troubleshooting steps like ensuring your thermostat is correctly set to “cool” and not “heat,” “auto,” or “off;” and that the temperature is set below the room’s current reading. If your thermostat is battery operated, replace those batteries with higher quality options. 

If the unit still fails to turn on, then it’s time to inspect your breaker box. Check all of the breakers to see if the air conditioner fuse or any other ones have been reset. Older homes can get power surges that overwhelm the main electrical box and cause blown fuses. If you’re knowledgeable in this area, replace any popped or damaged fuses.

If the problem persists, then there may be a more serious issue in which your house isn’t properly set up for your household’s electrical loads. Or, you might have had wiring poorly installed so that it prevents the AC system from getting the requisite power. You’ll want to call in a professional for these more serious, almost structural issues. This is likewise a good example of why it’s so important to have an air conditioner installed by an HVAC technician. A professional can consider your home’s electrical loads in addition to its heating and cooling loads to ensure the system can be set up and operate without issue. 

Air Conditioner Runs Very Short “On” Cycles

Air conditioners that turn on but don’t stay turned on generally have an issue with either blocked airflow or a refrigerant level. Check your system’s air filter and replace it if it appears dirty and clogged. Air filters should be replaced every three months during spring and fall, and every month during heavy use in summer. Also, check your system’s outside condensing unit and ensure that its condensing fins are not bent, dirty or otherwise obstructed, as this too can cause a shortened “on” cycle.

More Issues You’re Air Conditioner May be Having

Howar Air - Common Air Conditioning Problems Infographic

When it’s Time to Call a Professional

If your system looks clean from the outdoor fins to an indoor air filter, then it’s time to call in a professional to take a look at the unit’s refrigerant level or charge. To learn more about refrigerant and of other ways of troubleshooting a broken A/C system, contact your local Phoenix air conditioner repair professionals at Howard Air.

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Why Won’t My Heater Turn Off?

In the Valley of the Sun, we typically only use our heaters sparingly during Arizona’s brief winter. There is rarely a need to constantly have the heater on, but sometimes the heater just won’t turn off.

Before calling the friendly HVAC experts at Howard Air, here are a few tricks you can use to solve some of the most common issues we see every season for heaters not turning off.

How to Turn Off Heat

Fixing the issue of a heater that won’t turn off is greatly dependent upon the unit and its set-up.

See if any of these methods can resolve the issue you’re experiencing.

  • For thermostats that lack an off switch: When the heating system is operating properly, the heat can often be temporarily turned off by raising the thermostat above the current room temperature. However, if the thermostat is properly adjusted and the heat still won’t turn off, there are other mechanical issues that will likely require professional attention.
  • Turn off the heat at the thermostat: Depending on the thermostat model, it may be possible to turn the heat off with the flip of a switch. Many thermostats have a “Cool/Heat Off” switch or button.
  • Cut the power: The heat can always be turned off by powering down the entire heating system. Many systems have an on/off switch near the boiler or furnace or in another location around the house for easier access. Quite often, these switches are colored red and clearly labeled.

What Causes The Heat To Stay On?

When a heater turns on but not off, there could be several different causes. Some possible reasons why it may not be turning off include:

  • A bad thermostat. The thermostat itself can be the issue. A defective unit can have poor wiring, non-responsive switches, or in some cases a bad heating sensor. Depending on the issue and its severity, the thermostat may be repairable. In severe cases, it may need to be replaced entirely.
  • A damaged primary controller on the heating unit. In cases where the thermostat is not the issue, it is likely the main heating unit has some kind of damage. In such cases, a damaged primary controller is often the cause. Other mechanical issues can also cause the heater to remain turned on.
  • A defective check valve. For radiators and other heating systems that rely on hot water, a bad check valve can cause the heater to stay on. Without a working check valve, water circulates on its own to keep the heating system turned on. Having a professional replace the valve or water-checking system alleviates this issue.


Howard Air

Power down the unit and give us a call. A complex scenario like a broken sensor or defective water valve requires expert knowledge and skills to properly repair.

Contact Howard Air today to resolve your heating issues. We have been assisting homeowners and businesses with their heating and cooling needs in the greater Phoenix area for generations.

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Best Commercial-Grade AC Units for Large Buildings

In our decades of experience installing commercial HVACs and home comfort systems, we at Howard Air have frequently encountered the misconception that all air conditioners are the same.

Granted, they all move warm air from the inside of the property, condition it by extracting the heat from the air and delivering it outside and then circulating the resulting cool air throughout the inside space. However, they do so with varying levels of efficiency, which translates directly to your wallet.

At Howard Air, we’ve helped the business owners and residents of Arizona keep their energy bills down without sacrificing comfort, and we’ve done so by recommending the best commercial AC units on the market for their properties and offices.


Commercial AC Units You Can Trust

If you’re looking for a new air conditioner that you can trust for commercial applications, take a closer look at the following manufacturers.

carrierAs certified Installers for the Carrier brand, we proudly stand behind this manufacturer’s excellent units. It’s a strong brand in commercial applications and offers units in a wide range of sizes to fit any business’s needs.

Trane Air Conditioners at Howard AirTrane units are very well-made and found regularly in commercial settings, where they’ve been known to provide vigorous cooling and operate efficiently for many years. The company has a very solid reputation with their commercial line.

York Air Conditioners at Howard AirHere at Howard Air, we have a lot of experience with York air conditioner units, as well. Their operational efficiency puts them on our shortlist of best AC units, although their simpler design means they don’t have as many features as some of the other units on this list.

Goodman Air Conditioners at Howard AirAnother solid contribution to commercial air conditioning, our technicians have had positive experiences with Goodman units. In addition to being reliable, they’re less costly than some comparable options. Solid performance and good customer service – you can’t go wrong with Goodman.

Lennox Air Conditioners at Howard AirLennox has a strong reputation as a brand and their AC units are noted for their reliability. They are generally more expensive than other brands and notably so with replacement parts, but are very solid units.

Rheem Air Conditioners at Howard AirRheem air conditioning units differ from the other options – while the operation is good, their unique geometrical configuration makes their coils more prone to needing maintenance (as they can freeze up), and more difficult to clean than other units.


Howard Air

At Howard Air, we work on all these major national brands and others as well. We can diagnose any problems your AC unit has and work with you to determine if repairing or replacing the system is your best option. Contact us today for a complimentary estimate.

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5 Signs Your Electrical System Is Outdated

As a home ages, so does it’s electrical wiring. Nicked by nails, pierced by screws, or frayed and cracked due to heat, or just their own old age, electrical wiring in your home is something that needs to be replaced every now and again like your roof or windows. If you don’t and you let your home’s electrical system age beyond its expiration date, you can put your home and your family at risk.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, U.S. fire departments are called to more than 25,000 electrical fires in homes each year, resulting in over a billion dollars in property loss and over a thousand injuries. 

To guard against preventable fires in your home, be on the lookout for the more common signs that your home needs some electrical rewiring. 

Signs You’re In Need of Electrical Rewiring


1.) Your home was built before 1980.

If your home was built in the last 40 years — or at least your electrical system hasn’t been upgraded since then — you’re likely in need of an upgrade. Made of aluminum wiring or wiring with a rubberized fabric wrapped around it, old electrical wiring types weren’t built to really stand the test of time. 

These electrical wiring types can easily lead to frying wires and cause shorts and fires. While the cost of replacing electrical wiring in an old house isn’t always fun to look at upfront, knowing that you’re upgrading to a safer and more efficient wiring system — most likely copper — means you’re protecting your home from easily preventable hazards. 

2.) Multiple trips to the circuit breaker.

A tripped circuit breaker happens to everyone every now and again. Too many appliances plugged in or too many devices in use at the same time can easily make the electrical wiring in an old house sputter and stop, but it shouldn’t be happening all too often. If you’re seeing your circuit breaker more than twice a month, it’s likely time to consider electrical rewiring for your home. 

If your home has a fuse box instead of a circuit breaker, that’s also an indication that the electrical system in your home is in need of an upgrade. Most modern homes use circuit breakers as they make resetting easy — just flip the switch. A blown fuse, on the other hand, means that a metal filament inside the fuse has been burned through and needs to be completely replaced. 

3.) Flickering or dimming lights.

When lights start to flicker and dim on their own, it can be instinctive to think that your home is haunted, but what could be really going on is much scarier. Flickering and dimming lights are often the indicators of a much more serious problem than just an unwanted light show.

If lights dim when another appliance is in use, then there could be an issue with the voltage consistency in your home. If they dim on their own, then it could also be a case of loose or faulty wiring. As loose wiring is one of the main causes of house fires, if any fixture looks loose, it’s important to call in a John C. Flood electrician to make sure that everything is all set.

4.) Hot, noisy, or blackened outlets.

Here’s a list of things your outlets shouldn’t do: be hot, sizzle, crack, buzz, or smoke. Any one of these warning signs is reason enough to call in a pro and get your wiring looked at. Hot or noisy plugs often indicate that your plug has a short circuit or is improperly grounded. If this is the case, the plug will often pull more electricity than it needs, increasing the risk of catching fire or malfunctioning. 

If your plug starts smoking, turn off all appliances and turn your breaker to off. A smoking plug is a major sign of serious electrical issues and needs to be inspected by an electrician right away. For any of these issues, an electrical rewiring of your entire home can save not only everything in it but also protect your family from the dangers of an electrical outlet fire. 

5.) Not enough outlets.

It’s no secret that we’re in the age of the devices. From chargers to screens, gaming systems, and smart assistants, not to mention lights and vacuums, so much of modern life is dependant on being able to plug things in. In older homes, however, there might not always be enough outlets to meet the need.

While this in and of itself is not a hazard, if you’re living off of your extension cords as a result, then you start running the risk of an electric fire. Overuse of electric cords due to either not enough plugs or not enough plugs close to where your devices are can lead to overloaded or damaged cords, exposing your home to avoidable electric hazards. If you find yourself plugging everything into a cord, consider rewiring your home.

Are You Seeing The Signs Of An Outdated Electrical System? Call John C. Flood

Old electrical wiring may not seem like a pressing concern if the lights keep turning on and appliances keep running, but if small issues are left unchecked, they can develop into large, sometimes life-threatening, concerns. Once you notice that something might be wrong with your home’s electrical system, it’s vital that you call a professional and get the issue looked at.

As part of our Service Partner Program, your electrical system will be checked and inspected by trained, John C. Flood electricians, ensuring that your home is up-to-date and up-to-code. Give us a call at (703) 752-1266 or contact us online to sign up for our service program or to schedule your inspection today!

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