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Thread: Exterior GFCI's

  1. #1
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    Default Exterior GFCI's

    F.I.R.E. Services

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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    GFCI Code Changes

    1970 All garages

    1971 Bath receptacles over counters

    1975 Outdoor receptacles

    1981 Within 10' of hot tubs

    1987 Basements & within 6' of kitchen sinks

    1990 Crawlspaces, except dedicated outlets i.e. sump pumps

    1993 All bathroom receptacles & around wet bars & all
    receptacles over kitchen counter tops & all outdoor receptacles.

    2002 ARC fault circuits for all bedroom lights and receptacles


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    .Yep.

    Attached Files Attached Files
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Thanks guys


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    hi; Is there not an exclusion of GFCI near sinks, designated for refrigerator/ freezers?
    Stephen DeCosta


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    I think the requirement is for receptacle outlets that serve the counter surfaces. Since the fridge outlet is generally behind the appliance, it cannot really serve the counter surfaces. However, I have seen counter appliances plugged into the fridge receptacle, particularly when there are a limited number of outlets at the counter.

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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Don't think you want to plug a frig or freezer into a GFCI outlet. I believe these appliances can trip the GFCI, which is not a good thing (especially if you're gone for a few days).


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Chris,

    Read this thread from yesterday and a few days ago, it covers your question exactly.

    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...nder-sink.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    No - go to NEC 210.8 (A) (6) Kitchens where the receptacles are installed to serve the countertop surfaces.
    Those, and only those, receptacles in kitchens are required to have GFCI protection (admittedly, though, that covers 'almost all' of the receptacles in kitchens).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Crouse View Post
    Don't think you want to plug a frig or freezer into a GFCI outlet. I believe these appliances can trip the GFCI, which is not a good thing (especially if you're gone for a few days).
    Brent, this is folklore. If the appliance trips the GFCI then there is a problem with the appliance. Many threads in the archives are devoted to debunking this myth.


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Brandon,

    I had a freezer in the basement that would trip the GFCI. Once I moved it to a regular receptacle, no further problems. I guess what I'm saying is that if you have a choice, it's better to not use the GFCI for frig and freezer. The GFCI is just doing it's job, and if it receives false alarms, you could end up with a smelly (and possibly costly) mess.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Brent, the GFCI isn't getting false alarms, the freezer needs to be fixed or replaced. By moving it off the GCFI you've decreased the risk of having some rotten food and increased the risk of getting a nasty shock some day when you touch it at the same time you are making a good path to ground.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Jerry ---

    I've handed out (or included in reports) many copies of the thru 2005 GFCI chart since you gave us permission to do so)....

    Do we HI's have permissioin to distrubute (with proper attribution, of course) the 2008 GFCI and AFCI charts?


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Bob,

    "Do we HI's have permissioin to distrubute (with proper attribution, of course) the 2008 GFCI and AFCI charts?"

    Yes.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Jerry,

    Excellent charts...Thank you for help. On that note, are there any other handouts/info home inspectors feel are beneficial to share with their clients?


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Vern said GFCI's required in "1990 Crawlspaces, except dedicated outlets i.e. sump pumps", is this true? My understanding is a sump pump NEEDS to be GFCI protected. Has this changed since 1990, and does anybody have the code reference? Thanks! Dave


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Mortensen View Post
    does anybody have the code reference?

    Dave,

    Did you download and review the chart I posted above?

    Review notes 7a, 7b, 7c, 7d, 7e, for unfinished basements.

    I know, you asked about "crawlspaces", I have not found any exceptions for receptacles in "crawlspaces" not being required to have GFCI protection.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    I looked at the chart and didn't find the sump pump exception, but I will do more research to see where I thought the sump needed GFCI protection. Maybe if it's a dedicated circuit it doesn't have to be??? Thanks Jerry, Dave


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Mortensen View Post
    I looked at the chart and didn't find the sump pump exception, but I will do more research to see where I thought the sump needed GFCI protection.
    Dave,

    Did you read the notes I pointed out?

    Did you read the chart for unfinished basements and crawlspaces, for which those notes apply?

    I think you are trying so hard to find something which does not exist that you are not reading what you are reading, you are 'looking for' what you are trying to find ... there is a difference.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    This is according to the Municipality of Anchorage: Handout AG.20

    "Sump Pump Discharge Requirements
    There continues to be major problems with sump pump discharge to remove water from crawl spaces or structures.
    Discharge onto adjacent properties and discharge into streets causes glaciation and creates safety hazards and
    heavy damage to MOA Street Maintenance snow removal equipment. Under no circumstances can a sump pump
    be discharged into the Municipality of Anchorage sanitary sewer system, across property lines or impede public
    right-of-ways or cause glaciation on streets.
    The following are approved locations and methods for discharging sump pumps from residential or commercial
    structures in the Municipality of Anchorage:
    1. Tie in all discharge of sump pumps to storm drains where available.
    2. Discharge may be directed to open drainage ditches as long as no glaciation onto streets or traveled
    roadways occurs.
    3. If there is adequate natural ground covering to allow seepage into the soil, discharge may be made onto
    property as long as sheet discharge does not cross a property line.
    4. The minimum distance away from a building that a sump may be discharged is three feet.
    For engineered foundations requiring drainage, the following must be added to the plans to allow for approval:
    footing drains must be shown and installed with slope to sump location;
    sump must discharge to an approved location, see items 1-3 above;
    pump must have a ground fault circuit interrupter on the electrical circuit, and it must be shown on plans;
    crawl space access must afford/allow access for the maintenance and/or replacement of the sump;
    provide detail for sump enclosure, include diameter depth, material used as drainage filter."

    Under #4 it talks about the GFCI protection needed. I was just wondering where I got the information from that a sump pump specifically had to be protected, whereas Vern quoted that it did not have to be if it was a dedicated circuit. Maybe it's a regional thing to "spell it out" like Anchorage has, even though the code calls for it. It helps to have the documentation from the Muni when I come across a home built prior to 1990 w/o the protection on the circuit. Thanks Jerry, Dave


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Dave,

    Let's do it this way.

    Download and open the GFCI page.

    Go across the top row to "Crawlspaces".

    Go down that column to the first year with the "X" and any notes to the "X" (there are not notes to the "X").

    The first year that receptacles in Crawlspaces was in the NEC was 1990, and it includes *ALL* receptacles in the crawlspace - there are no exceptions, never have been any.

    Prior to 1990, though, any receptacles in the crawlspace did not require GFCI protection.

    Now, however, move across the top row to "Unfinished Basements", go down to the first "X" and note the applicable notes, "7"a, b, c, d, e, variations as the codes progressed through the years.

    Under "Unfinished Basements" you will find "sump pump" listed at "7b", thus, from 1990 through to 2004 (the last year of the 2002 NEC before the 2005) sump pumps were excepted out of having required GFCI protection. In 2005, though, that exception went away.

    Did the above help in that format?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Yes, so as of 2005 the sump pump needs GFCI protection (no exception). My original question regards Vern's statement that it wasn't needed "1990 Crawlspaces, except dedicated outlets i.e. sump pumps", but now you pointed out that:

    Under "Unfinished Basements" you will find "sump pump" listed at "7b", thus, from 1990 through to 2004 (the last year of the 2002 NEC before the 2005) sump pumps were excepted out of having required GFCI protection. In 2005, though, that exception went away.

    Anchorage now wants all sump pumps to be GFCI protected, and now I know where they get that from.

    I recommend GFCI protection for all appropriate locations despite the age of the home, which is why I recommend it for sump pumps even though there might have been an exception before 2005. Isn't that the reason for not allowing the exception any longer... it wasn't as safe?


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Mortensen View Post
    Yes, so as of 2005 the sump pump needs GFCI protection (no exception).
    Dave,

    You need to clarify statements like that: "unfinished basements" - sump pumps require GFCI protection as of 2005, no exception; "crawlspaces" - sump pumps have required GFCI protection since 1990, no exceptions.

    Your first post on this above specified "crawlspaces".

    My original question regards Vern's statement that it wasn't needed "1990 Crawlspaces, except dedicated outlets i.e. sump pumps",
    Correct, there was no "dedicated outlets" exception in crawlspaces in 1990.

    Anchorage now wants all sump pumps to be GFCI protected, and now I know where they get that from.

    I recommend GFCI protection for all appropriate locations despite the age of the home, which is why I recommend it for sump pumps even though there might have been an exception before 2005.
    Isn't that the reason for not allowing the exception any longer... it wasn't as safe?
    Partially the reason.

    Before then (before 1990) the allowable leakage current for manufactured appliances (a sump pump is an appliance) was up to 50 ma, which meant that it could trip a GFCI at 5 ma and 'have nothing wrong with the appliance'. That lead to the old wife's tale of "nuisance tripping" when appliances were put on GFCI protected circuits. However, sometime in the 1980s, the standard for allowable leakage current was lowered to 0.5 ma (1/10 of what a GFCI trips at). Being as the code applied to "new" houses being built, the GFCI protection could be mandated as "new" sump pumps (with the new lower limit allowable leakage) would be installed.

    It's not like you would go buy a GFCI and install it on an old sump pump, which may, or may not, trip the GFCI. Whether it tripped the GFCI or not would be a matter of chance, the old higher standard of leakage current 'allowed' the leakage current to be that high, but in reality, it was usually not that high, which is why many appliances would work on GFCI protected circuits, but some would not.

    Since the lower leakage current standards took effect, GFCI protection has been added to more locations.

    It's not that it was considered 'safe' back then (prior to 1990), it's that they could not require GFCI protection on circuits for which there were no appliances being made to which could reliably be used on those GFCI protected circuits.

    As manufacturing methods and materials improved, the leakage current could be reduced, then GFCI protection could be required.

    It just like when GFCI protection first came in for bathrooms in 1975 - prior to 1975 no receptacle outlets in the bathroom were *required*, because they did not want to *require* a receptacle where there was no adequate protection available. With GFCI development having made significant advances in the 1960s, they would be required in the 1970s, and, once they could be required, receptacles in less that 'safe' places could be required.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    OK, I appreciate your efforts to clarify this issue. Both GFCI and AFCI protection being required in 2008 makes the electrical system in a new house inherently safer, upgrading GFCI protection for existing homes would do the same was my point. I realize upgrading an existing home for AFCI protection has its own set of difficulties, but if it was doable I would probably recommend that too.
    Dave


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Mortensen View Post
    upgrading GFCI protection for existing homes would do the same was my point.
    Understood, I was just giving background as to why things were as they were.

    I realize upgrading an existing home for AFCI protection has its own set of difficulties,
    Other than 'are there AFCI breakers for those panels', what set of difficulties is there?

    There is the possibility for adding AFCI devices outside the old panels, provisions have been made for that. The best way, of course, it to replace the panel, however, the easiest way would be to install a new 4 circuit panel next to the original main panel and run the bedroom circuits through the new 4 circuit panel with the new AFCI breakers in it.

    but if it was doable I would probably recommend that too.
    Making that "doable".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    I guess by "doable" I meant w/o a new panel installation and routing of the new wires. Thanks Jerry.


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Crouse View Post
    Brandon,

    I had a freezer in the basement that would trip the GFCI. Once I moved it to a regular receptacle, no further problems. I guess what I'm saying is that if you have a choice, it's better to not use the GFCI for frig and freezer. The GFCI is just doing it's job, and if it receives false alarms, you could end up with a smelly (and possibly costly) mess.

    Old appliance I'd bet... or a malfunctioning one.

    Many of the previous exceptions for GFI protection are going away in the 2008 code due to better manufacturing standards for appliances over the last 20 years or so.

    Somebody posted a great summary of the changes in the new upcoming code about 6 months ago. You might be able to find it doing a search.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    I got that chart from a seminar somewhere, don't remember where. It has never gotten me in trouble until this thread . It's a little coarse, and may need a little fine tuning. (I have made a note about crawlspace vs. uf basement on mine) If I think I will have to go to court, I will take Jerry's.


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    I got that chart from a seminar somewhere, don't remember where. It has never gotten me in trouble until this thread . It's a little coarse, and may need a little fine tuning.
    Vern,

    It's also wrong.

    (I've added comments in red to the list below)
    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    GFCI Code Changes

    1970 All garages (wrong)

    1971 Bath receptacles over counters (wrong)

    1975 Outdoor receptacles (wrong)

    1981 Within 10' of hot tubs (wrong)

    1987 Basements & within 6' of kitchen sinks (somewhat wrong, somewhat right)

    1990 Crawlspaces, except dedicated outlets i.e. sump pumps (wrong)

    1993 All bathroom receptacles & around wet bars & all
    receptacles over kitchen counter tops & all outdoor receptacles. (don't know where to begin, easier to just say *wrong*, which is correct as it is not 'right')

    2002 ARC fault circuits for all bedroom lights and receptacles (partially correct)
    Vern,

    I don't know how to say this politely but, ummmm ... errrr ... hmmmm ... that list of yours is not even good to use as toilet paper, printed paper is too stiff, and with ink jets, the ink rubs off ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    hey jerry

    i'm the director of education for the rocky mountain chapter of nahi--and i have been trying to open the gfci and afci pdf files you posted to send to my 100 HI's---using the url you posted--although i can open them --i am unable to get to that web using the web-----i am using icontact as my email delivery--and i can't attach pdf files to my emails----can u help--this is great info that we all need-----if needed my phone number is 720-890-9663
    thanks
    charlie


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Charlie,

    Open those files, they are on Brian's server. Or, right click on them and select 'Save File As' or 'Save Target As'.

    Then save them to your hard drive.

    From there (your hard drive), you should be able to attach them to any e-mail you send out.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    thanks jerry

    will try
    charlie


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    I have a question about GFCI's. I am inspecting a lot of new homes with tankless gass water heaters. They are mounted in a cabinet outside the homes. Obviously the cabinet is metal. There is moisture outside. There is water connections and gas connections in the cabinet and an electric outlet in the cabinet. Seems to me that no matter how you read the bible there is a tremendous amount of issues here. I wrote it up. The electrician says it is fine. The building inspector did not fail it. My reasoning says to always write it up.

    Dedicated appliance or not. In a cabinet or not. You can read so many things into this. I would like opinions

    Thanks
    Ted

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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    *REQUIRES* GFCI protection, however, I'm surprised that it was not permanently wired and not cord and plug connected.

    That seems a bit weird for an built-in water heater, especially one installed outside.

    Typically, that would not be allowed, unless the water heater came from the manufacturer with the cord and plug connection.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  34. #34
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    The water heater came pretty much as is from the manufacturer. I guess the reasoning was yes, it is ouside but it is in a cabinet. They are using the inside the cabinet thing.

    Personally I will write it up every time. Maybe some one will finally check into it properly. In this day with GFCI protection I can not think of anywhere where it would be needed more. Water, exterior, water at the exterior, metal cabinet, gas connection etc.

    The post about the under the cabinet GFCI not needed I feel the same way about that. Water leak, breaker being faulty and not disconnecting etc. I personally believe anywhere where there is water and electric as it pretty much states at the bottom of your PDF is where a GFCI is needed with the exception of a deddicated appliance outlet such as garage frig, kitchen frig, and maybe but I am still out on this one, Washing machine receptacle.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 06-01-2008 at 07:36 PM.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    "The water heater came pretty much as is from the manufacturer."

    "pretty much"

    I'm looking at the photo and it does not look like it came from the factory that way.

    Are you sure it did?

    If it did, that receptacle would most likely: 1) not be mounted on the bottom facing up; 2) not in a box like that; 3) not have a weather proof cover like that; 4) it would be a single receptacle; 5) the fitting the cord and plug goes into would have a strain relief on it; 6) the box would be painted white like the rest of it; 7) ...

    I believe it was the way the electrician decided to connect it, instead of permanently wiring it as they likely should have.

    Now, the above said ... *IF* ... *IF* it did come in the water heater from the manufacturer ... ummmmmmm ... the NEC does state *all* (with one exception) outdoor receptacle outlets, but that is enclosed in the cabinet, *I* think that it did not come that way, and the electrician screwed it up.

    What brand is it and do you have the installation instructions? That would tell you for sure.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  36. #36
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Sorry, I meant to say that this is the info I got from the electrician. My mistake. Like I said he is the one that installed it and he is the one that gave me any info. Obviously just teeed off because he did put a GFCI in over the weekend in both units. I did not go back to check but the buyer called and said the electrician put GFCI's in both units. As far as the municipal building inspector not failing it, well, don't know what to say about that.

    Thanks for the info. I am so use to answering questions from home buyers so they can understand what I am talking about I get caught up in the non technical terms when answering questions from other folks that I get advise from.

    By the way. I wish to thank the folks in these posts for not getting all over me for talking to them like they are the happy home buyer and using possible vague terminology.

    I will try to be a little more technical and direct with statements in the future.

    I am one of those folks that knows code well enough to spot concerns and have the home buyers take it to the next step with the appropriate tradesman but can not rattle off codes that are imprinted into my memory. One of these days I will continue study and eventually get that wonderful ICC stamp of approval. Just to busy most of the time I guess.

    I do have great respect for all of you that can either rattle code off or at least flip a book open quick enough to give detailed advise.


    Gees, I am actually apologizing for being to busy. Whats up with that.

    Thanks again

    Ted


  37. #37
    Charles Sessums's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    This topic raises a question. When hardwired, what serves as the disconnect?


  38. #38
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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Well, The topic was exterior GFCI and that is all I brought up. There were other questions as well as what you asked for one. There is no disconnect with out a receptacle or switching point of some kind. There were far to many concerns just with the GFCI for me not to right it up to that end. There are controls for each unit but they are inside. These controls operate temp and you can shut the unit off or on, again nothing else outside.

    I believe in these tankless gas water heaters. I have had them put into remodel jobs in the past. Just for the part of energy use between electric or gas tankless I would go with gas all the time.


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    Default Re: Exterior GFCI's

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Sessums View Post
    This topic raises a question. When hardwired, what serves as the disconnect?
    Charles,

    Whatever disconnect the electrician installs ... as long as it is rated for outdoor use and has the minimum amp rating for the use.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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