Home Construction Improvement http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com Expert Home Improvement Advice Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:10:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Upgrade Your Hose Storagehttp://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/upgrade-hose-storage/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=upgrade-hose-storage http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/upgrade-hose-storage/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:10:47 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=12124 Hose Storage and Management Ideas Garden hoses can be a real pain to keep organized and moved around from place to place in the yard. I’ve got a huge yard and every year it seems as though my hose “miss-management” has gotten worse so I enlisted the help of the folks at AMES for some…

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Hose Storage and Management Ideas

Garden hoses can be a real pain to keep organized and moved around from place to place in the yard. I’ve got a huge yard and every year it seems as though my hose “miss-management” has gotten worse so I enlisted the help of the folks at AMES for some hose storage ideas and solutions.

hose mess Upgrade Your Hose Storage

Does your hose sit around the yard like the picture above? It looks awful and it can be quite a trip hazard for yourself and guests. If your hose is just laying around you should consider getting some hose storage. Read on to learn all about hose storage solutions and find one that suites your needs.

Types of Hose Storage

There are four basic types of hose storage that are used widely in yards (not including my coil it on the ground approach that I am finally rid of!). Hose storage types include:

  • Hose Hangers
  • Hose Reels
  • Hose Cabinets
  • Hose Carts

Hose Hangers

Hose Hangers have been around as long as hoses because they offer an inexpensive and simple solution for hanging hoses. Typically they are screwed or nailed to a wall or post near the hose spigot. They are usually made from light gauge metal or plastic. The biggest problem with them is you need to coil up the hose by hand without twisting it and creating a tangled mess. Then when you need the hose you either lift off all the hose at once or carefully lift off each loop as you pull the hose from the hanger.

Ames Wall Mounted Hose Real 550x366 Upgrade Your Hose Storage

Hose Reels

Hose Reels are very affordable and easier to use than a hose hanger. I have a hose reel mounted under my deck near one of our hose spigots. The NeverLeak® Poly Wall Mount Hose Reel from AMES pictured above holds 225 feet of 5/8″ dia. garden hose and it has a nice handle and manual guide to help keep the hose neatly wound onto the reel. Hose reels are a great solution in places that are not very visible like garages, sheds, and under decks.Ames Mobile Hose Cart Upgrade Your Hose Storage

Hose reels come in all kinds of designs and materials. From light gauge metal to heavy duty plastic. Some of the metal hose reels on the market offer a more decorative appearance if you have to install the reel in a visible area.

Hose Carts

Hose Carts are an excellent choice near gardens or for homeowners that move hose around to different areas of the yard (front yard to back yard for example). I use a NeverLeak® 250’ Hose Cart with Hose Guide from AMES to haul 100′ of hose around the backyard between our vegetable garden and flower gardens.

It acts much like a mobile staging area that’s much easier to move than pulling an extra 100′ of hose around the yard. Many hose carts come with storage options like the tray included in this version from AMES.

Hose Cabinets

Hose cabinets are another option especially if you want a clean look in visible areas like your front yard. Hose cabinets come in both metal and plastic versions and lots of different styles from rather plain to decorative designs that are sure to blend in with a nice garden.

Ames Decorator Hose Real 550x366 Upgrade Your Hose Storage

I’m using a NeverLeak® Decorative Metal Hose Cabinet from AMES in our front flower garden that’s adjacent to the main entrance to the house. It’s a metal cabinet it definitely looks better than the pile of hose that used to sit there!

 

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Design & Build A Backyard Shedhttp://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/design-build-backyard-shed/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=design-build-backyard-shed http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/design-build-backyard-shed/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:11:54 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=12112 Need Helping Designing and Building a Backyard Shed? The old saying “there’s never enough storage space” is especially true when it comes to garden tools and outdoor power equipment. I have a rather large garage but there’s simply not enough room for the riding mower, push mower, car top carrier, lawn and garden tools and…

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Need Helping Designing and Building a Backyard Shed?

The old saying “there’s never enough storage space” is especially true when it comes to garden tools and outdoor power equipment. I have a rather large garage but there’s simply not enough room for the riding mower, push mower, car top carrier, lawn and garden tools and 4 bicycles. In the near future I’ve got to build a shed so I’d like to share some information that you can use if you’re looking to design and/or build a new backyard shed.

LP Smartside 1 Design & Build A Backyard Shed

Find Your Shed Inspiration

The first step in designing or building a new shed is figuring out what you want it to look like, and how big to make it. For some people that’s an easy task but most of us need some inspiration and ideas. The folks over at LP Outdoor Building Solutions have created a shed visualizer to help you get started.

Their free visualizer lets you look at different materials and colors for an outdoor shed. It allows you to change the type of roofing, trim, and siding with the click of your mouse. You can save your designs and print them out for yourself or builder.

LP SmartSide Visualizer Design & Build A Backyard Shed

In addition to the visualizer they have a gallery full of shed ideas from small to large. I like how they show different styles including different types of roofs, siding, doors and windows. This is really important for home owners that might not be well versed in architecture and different building styles.

Not only do they have a gallery of sheds, but they also have a gallery with other outdoor structures including: dog houses, wood sheds, barns and garages. Whether you plan on building the structure yourself or hiring a contractor these ideas can be used to design the structure. You can even print the images and give them to your builder.

LP Outdoor Building Solutions Products

I’ve been using LP SmartSide siding products for several years and I’ve been very impressed with them. Two years ago we used their lap siding on a million dollar custom home after evaluating several materials including cedar and cement lap siding. We chose the LP SmartSide due to a combination of price, warranty, and long term reduced maintenance costs. I’m happy to say that after two years the house still looks like the day we finished.

My experience with LP SmartSide is why I really like their outdoor building solutions. Their outdoor building solutions site showcases several products that are a great match for sheds and garages including:

  • LP SmartSide Panels
  • LP ProStruct® Roof Sheathing with SilverTech®
  • LP ProStruct® Panel with SilverTech®
  • LP SmartSide Panels with SmartFinish®
  • LP ProStruct® Floor with SmartFinish®
  • LP SmartSide Trim and Lap Siding
LPShedInterior 0002 SmartFinishFloor SilverTechWalls 550x337 Design & Build A Backyard Shed

LP ProStruct® Floor with SmartFinish® and LP ProStruct® Panel with SilverTech®

So why is all this so important? With LP SmartSide trim and siding products, you get the beauty of wood with a much more durable product that’s been engineered to resist fungal decay and termites. If you choose the SmartFinish products you get the same fungal decay and termite resistance plus a very nice aesthetic appearance on the inside. And if you choose the SilverTech products they can help reduce radiant heat on those blistering summer days.

LPShedInterior 0004 SmartFinishFloor LPSSPanelWalls 550x337 Design & Build A Backyard Shed

LP ProStruct® Floor with SmartFinish®

The images above give you a great sense of the versatility and aesthetic value the LP SmartSide products can bring to your new shed or garage. I really like the LP SmartSide Panels with SmartFinish because it looks similar to MDO plywood and creates a much more “finished” appearance.

As a builder I can tell you that the LP SmartSide products give me an added level of confidence that the material will perform very well with not only the weather, but also the physical punishment that outdoor structures take. The warranties speak volumes to the level of commitment LP has with their products and certainly resonate with my customers and other builders I’ve spoken to.

Disclosure

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of LP® Outdoor Building Solutions for hfa. All opinions are 100% mine.

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Home Improvement Safety Tipshttp://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/home-improvement-safety-tips/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=home-improvement-safety-tips http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/home-improvement-safety-tips/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 10:07:56 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=12089 Stay Safe While Doing Home Improvement Projects Each year thousands of homeowners are injured doing home improvement projects around their homes. Home improvement projects can be dangerous so it’s important to be prepared and outfitted properly in order to protect yourself. Below are some simple tips that will help keep you safe during your next…

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Stay Safe While Doing Home Improvement Projects

Each year thousands of homeowners are injured doing home improvement projects around their homes. Home improvement projects can be dangerous so it’s important to be prepared and outfitted properly in order to protect yourself. Below are some simple tips that will help keep you safe during your next project.

First Aid Kit

first aid kit e1403021669365 Home Improvement Safety TipsOne of the most important things you can do to be prepared for projects around your home is making sure you have a properly stocked first aid kit. When accidents happen it’s really important to have a proper first aid kit. It’s also important that the kit be fully stocked with supplies that haven’t expired.

The Red Cross recommends the following items in a family first aid kit:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet

Save Your Eyes

Eye injuries are one of the most frequently occurring injuries and also one of the most preventable. 3M Safety Glasses e1402943155206 Home Improvement Safety TipsEye protection should be at the top of your list and the cost is minimal. It’s best to air on the side of caution and use eye protect for most home improvement tasks. From nailing and screwing to sanding and painting, all of these tasks can potentially cause harm to your eyes.

Lately I’ve been using 3M safety glasses in the shop and really like them. I really like this pair of traditional glasses because they are comfortable and durable.

Don’t Forget Your Ears

Most home improvement projects won’t immediately 3M Hearing Protection e1402943326159 Home Improvement Safety Tipshurt your ears but the lack of instant pain doesn’t mean you’re being safe. In fact, prolonged exposure to loud noises can mean permanent hearing loss. Lots of tasks may seem harmless like sanding, hammering, mowing the lawn, or using a pressure washer. But each of those tasks performed without hearing protection can lead to long term hearing damage that cannot be reversed.

For Father’s Day this year my kids got me a pair of 3M head phones with a built-in radio. These are great for mowing the lawn and listening to the ball game!

Don’t Work In The Dark

Energizer Lamp e1402943716878 Home Improvement Safety TipsBeing prepared with the right clothing, right tools, and good visibility are keys to working safe. Often times home improvement projects involve dark places like basements, attics, or tight spaces under equipment. It’s extremely important to prepare the work site with proper lighting. Today there are so many small yet bright lighting options from flash lights to work lights.

I really like using small LED task lights that I can position near my work. LED’s last much longer on standard batteries and they are far brighter than old style work lights. Energizer has been making some great work and tasks lights including the Energizer Fusion LED Folding Lantern.

Be Prepared for Fire

fire extinguisher e1402943838637 Home Improvement Safety TipsLastly it’s so important to be prepared for fire. Every home should have working fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide alarms. It’s crucial that you have one or more working fire extinguishers in an easily accessible location. Be sure everyone in your family knows where they are stored and how to use them.

I recommend you purchase an A-B-C extinguisher which is a multi-purpose extinguisher that you can use on ordinary flammable materials, flammable liquids, and even electrical fires. Be sure to check it yearly to be sure it’s fully charged and ready when you need it.

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Building Wood Raised Bed Vegetable Gardenshttp://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/building-wood-raised-bed-vegetable-gardens/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=building-wood-raised-bed-vegetable-gardens http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/building-wood-raised-bed-vegetable-gardens/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 11:30:48 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=2486 Raised Bed Vegetable Gardens Growing fresh vegetables is something I’ve done since I was a kid. When I was a kid we had a huge garden that took lots of hours and hard work but provide our family with all the vegetables we needed. With my family’s busy schedule a huge garden isn’t a viable…

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Raised Bed Vegetable Gardens

Growing fresh vegetables is something I’ve done since I was a kid. When I was a kid we had a huge garden that took lots of hours and hard work but provide our family with all the vegetables we needed. With my family’s busy schedule a huge garden isn’t a viable option for us so we decided to build some smaller raised bed gardens.

raised bed vegetable garden boxes Building Wood Raised Bed Vegetable Gardens

Raised bed vegetable gardens are an excellent option for people with small yards, yards with poor soil conditions, or yards with poor drainage. The raised sides of the garden allow for a suitable depth of soil, better drainage, and better access to vegetables.

Raised Bed Garden with Tomatoe Plants Building Wood Raised Bed Vegetable Gardens

With some basic tools and materials you can build raised bed vegetable gardens in your yard and start your own garden. It’s an excellent family activity and the “fruit of your labor” are great organic vegetables at a fraction of the cost.

Raised Bed Design

raised bed sketch 300x250 Building Wood Raised Bed Vegetable GardensAfter doing some research we decided to make three gardens 10 ft long by 5 ft wide. The 5 ft dimension allows easy access to reach into the beds without having to crawl into them.  Each garden will be 50 sf which isn’t huge but can certainly hold quite a few vegetables.

For example, in one garden we are able to plant 8 tomato plants, in another garden we are able  to plant 6 string bean plants along with 12 lettuce plants. With several raised beds you can plant quite a wide assortment of vegetables.

For this design I chose to build the boxes out of 1×10 cedar with 2×2 posts in the corners to secure it to the ground. I chose cedar because of it’s natural resistance to decay when exposed to the elements. It’s worth pointing out that it’s not a good idea to use pressure treated wood for vegetable gardens as you run the risk of contamination from the preservatives in the wood.

The corner posts serve two purposes, first they provide an effective way to stake the box to the ground, and second they provide extra material to screw the side boards to and stiffen the corner.

raised bed garden tomatoe plants Building Wood Raised Bed Vegetable Gardens

Construction & Assembly

garden bed corner 300x225 Building Wood Raised Bed Vegetable GardensThese raised bed garden boxes are really easy to do and require basic tools. This project took me about 3 hours from start to finish.

First I used my sliding miter saw to cut the cedar boards to length (you could use a simple hand saw to cut them). Then I pre-drilled three holes in each board, then screwed them together using 2-inch long stainless steel screws. Stainless steel hardware is the best product to use with cedar (galvanized will stain). I screwed the entire box together before going to the next step.

Next I drove 2×2 corner posts into the ground several feet at each corner using a sledge hammer. Once the corner posts are installed I used a long builders level to level the box. Start at the highest grade level (corner of the box that touches the ground) and screw the box to the corner post. Then work your way around the box leveling and screwing the box to the posts.leveling garden bed 300x225 Building Wood Raised Bed Vegetable Gardens

You may need to fill in some extra soil on the outside of the box in areas where the grade falls away from the bottom of the box. Finally cut off any extra length on the corner posts so they are flush with the top of the 1×10′s.

All that’s left to do is fill the boxes with good quality loam (soil) along with some fertilizer and you’re ready to plant the garden.

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Bosch Giveaway – New Brushless Impact Driverhttp://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/bosch-giveaway-impact-driver/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bosch-giveaway-impact-driver http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/bosch-giveaway-impact-driver/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 11:25:59 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=12077 Bosch IDH182 Giveaway Impact drivers are one of the most popular cordless tools on the market today. I myself use them more and more over regular drills because they drive screws easier and faster, and I like being able to attach sockets to them for bolted connections. In the past I’d install an adapter into…

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Bosch IDH182 Giveaway

Impact drivers are one of the most popular cordless tools on the market today. I myself use them more and more over regular drills because they drive screws easier and faster, and I like being able to attach sockets to them for bolted connections. In the past I’d install an adapter into the 1/4″ hex chuck to attach 1/2″ sockets. Well Bosch has an amazing new design that allows you to use a 1/4″ hex bit or a 1/2″ socket with no adapter!! All of this plus a brushless motor makes the IDH182 an amazing tool.

One of our lucky readers is going to win this exciting new product thanks to the folks at Bosch. If you’d like a chance to win this new tool then be sure to enter below.

How To Enter To WinBosch IDH182 300x198 Bosch Giveaway   New Brushless Impact Driver

In order to enter this giveaway you must follow the instructions below:

  1. Subscribe to or be a subscriber to Front Steps Media Newsletter.
  2. Enter your information in the entry form at bottom of this page

Extra Entries:

If you would like to increase your chances to win with EXTRA entries. I allow five extra entry points for each one or of the following. [Note - repetitive entries with different email address will be deleted]

1. “LIKE” Bosch Tools on Facebook

2. “LIKE” HomeConstructionImprovement on Face Book

3. Follow Todd on Twitter and Tweet the giveaway and tag the following:

WIN A Bosch IDH182 18V Impact Driver http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/bosch-giveaway-impact-driver/

4. Subscribe To FrontStepsMedia’s YouTube Channel

Fine Print

Entries must be received by 11:59 PM EST on June 21, 2014. The winner will be announced on June 22, 2014.

Only residents of the U.S. are eligible. One entry per household. Spam entries will not be counted. Spam entries are determined at the sole discretion of Front Steps Media.

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Backup Generator Power – Be Preparedhttp://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/backup-generator-power-be-prepared/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=backup-generator-power-be-prepared http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/backup-generator-power-be-prepared/#comments Wed, 28 May 2014 16:03:00 +0000 http://localhost/test/2008/12/backup-generator-power-be-prepared/ Using Backup Generators Each year hundreds of thousands of homeowners get left in the dark due to power outages caused by extreme weather. Whether it’s extreme wind, lightning, snow or ice the outages can last for days at times leaving no power for heat, water and refrigeration. One of the best solutions for power outages…

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Using Backup Generators

Each year hundreds of thousands of homeowners get left in the dark due to power outages caused by extreme weather. Whether it’s extreme wind, lightning, snow or ice the outages can last for days at times leaving no power for heat, water and refrigeration. One of the best solutions for power outages is having a reliable backup generator set up to power essential appliances in your home. In this article I’ll discuss how to use a backup generator in your home and precautions to follow.

Backup Generator Backup Generator Power   Be PreparedSeveral years after we built our new home there was a massive ice storm here in New Hampshire that left us without power for 7 days during the winter. Luckily I had already purchased a backup generator and had my electrician install a transfer switch.The generator was a real life saver as it allowed us to run our heating system, hot water, refrigerators and simple lighting. Freezing pipes can burst and cause major water damage to a house without heat. Furthermore, it’s likely that the insurance companies will call this an act of God weather event and deny many claims.

Going out and buying a generator after the power goes out won’t really help out as there are some basic electrical changes that need to be done prior to “plugging” it in. In this article I’ll discuss some of those options so you can plan ahead before you need the generator to work! The key take away for you should be planning ahead and getting an electrician involved early in the project.

Backup Generator Power

In order to actually power basic essential appliances in your home you’ll need a portable generator and a generator transfer switch to connect the generator to your home. The generator transfer switch allows power from the generator to be fed into your electrical breaker panel and feed circuits in your house. The transfer switch also prevents power from the generator from being fed back out to the utility lines which would pose a serious risk to utility workers. Not only are transfer switches important for safety, they are required by law.

The transfer switch also protects your generator from power coming back into the home when the power is restored. The type of transfer switch that you use will depend on several factors which can be determined with your electrician. I highly recommend that this is a project for licensed electricians and definitely not a do-it-yourself project.

Generator Transfer Switch Backup Generator Power   Be Prepared

The transfer switch includes two major components; a sub-panel which typically sits next to your main electrical panel and a connection receptacle where you plug the generator into. It’s important to locate the receptacle in an area that’s easy to access and not too far from where you’ll run the generator so you can minimize the length the extension cord. From that point the electrician will run a heavy wire back to the sub-panel. Your electrician can help evaluate the location for the transfer switch.

The costs for installing a backup generator vary greatly depending on the size of the transfer switch, location, and complexity of running the wiring. Costs can range from as little as $500 up to $1,500 or more. I suggest you also have your electrician build a proper extension cord to go with the generator that will reach a safe location to run it and large enough to safely carry the rated current.

Generator Safety

Probably the most important topic with regard to backup generators is safety. Backup generators can be very dangerous if not operated according to the manufacturers recommendations and basic safety principles. Generator safety includes:

  • Always run the generator according to the manufacturers specifications. Of particular concern is making sure the generator is not overloaded and it’s properly wired to your home.
  • NEVER run a generator inside your home, garage or basement as this poses a significant risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Be sure to run the generator a safe distance from doors and windows in order to avoid carbon monoxide.
  • NEVER re-fuel a generator when it’s running as this poses a serious fire danger. You may be tempted to keep it running so that power isn’t disrupted to your home but he risk of a fire and serious injury are too great. Gas can spill causing a fire, vapor from the tank can catch fire, and sparks from the exhaust can catch fire.
  • Be sure to do regular maintenance on your generator including starting it on occasion, changing oil, and keeping it full of fresh gas.
  • Always use an extension cord that’s rated for the length and current produced by the generator.
  • NEVER connect a generator to your home without a proper transfer switch.

Selecting A Generator

Selecting a generator can be as confusing as buying most home appliances with tons of choices and price points. Again, I highly recommend you work with an electrician when making this decision. First you’ll need to know how many circuits in your home you want to run, from that the electrician can tell you what size generator you need.

You can use a backup generator like I do which means you’ll have to wheel it outside, start it up, hook up the extension cord and throw the transfer switch. This is the least expensive option and the most practical. If you want an easier, more powerful solution you can upgrade to a standby generator that sits outside and automatically turns on when the power goes out. These are typically run on natural gas or propane and cost 2 to 5 times a much as a backup generator.

If you plan on buying a small backup generator I highly recommend buying a generator with an automatic throttle control and a good, smooth running engine. I really like Honda motors as they tend to be much quieter, smoother, and longer lasting. For my home I use a DEWALT DXGN6000 6,000 watt gas generator with a Honda motor. A smooth running engine will produce much “cleaner” power which is very important with all the sophisticated electronics in our homes today.

Be Prepared for Power Outages

The lesson here is to be prepared for power outages. Before you get left out in the cold take some time and find a decent backup generator for your home. Contact a local electrician and get a generator transfer switch installed so you can power your home in the event of a long term power outage.

DEWALT backup generator 150x150 Backup Generator Power   Be Prepared generator receptacle 150x150 Backup Generator Power   Be Prepared setting up a backup generator 150x150 Backup Generator Power   Be Prepared

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