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  1. #1
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    Default What is the reasoning behind this

    I noticed this hole in my vent connector on my water heater and covered it with HVAC tape.

    The other day I was at my friends house and saw he had the same hole in his water heater vent connector (I went home and took the tape off because I figured it was there for a reason).

    My question is, why is this hole there, It seems like the hole would allow gasses back into the house, if you look at the picture you can see rust around the hole and I am guessing it's from gasses leaking out.

    Can some one explain to me what this hole is for?

    Thanks

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    The ONLY reason that comes to mind is there may have been an "Energy Audit" performed. However, if an actual audit was performed, it should have been properly sealed. If you have your HVAC on routine annual maintenance, this should have been addressed by the service technician.


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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    It's probably not a big issue but it should not be there. Technically, the air that is pulled into that hole is competing with air that should be pulled into the water heater's draft hood. It is possible that the corrosion around the hole is from condensation that forms inside the vent - that's another issue in itself.

    Eric Barker, ACI
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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    The HVAC tech (probably) punched that hole for his temp probe when setting up or servicing the furnace.

    It is common, and a piece of metal foil duct tape over the hole is OK too. It should be punched in the main vent pipe where there is negative pressure, no significant leaking.

    You have condensation from cooling in that one flue, maybe too large in diameter or too long.

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    That's the condensate drain, but more effectively a rainwater drain. Rain caps typically are not 100% waterproof and are commonly missing anyhow. The hole allows rainwater to escape. If the hole is sealed water can actually build up in the vent and run back into the appliance.

    If water is leaking from that hole when it's raining you're probably missing the cap for the top of the vent. The corrosion around the hole tells me that cap is missing or was missing at one time.

    The exhaust gas from the appliance is hot. Heat rises. This drain is below the horizontal input to the vertical stack so there's no way for the gas to escape that hole unless the vertical vent is blocked. Since the vents don't have an airtight seal anyhow the gas would escape every joint in the vent if the vertical vent is blocked so sealing the drain hole will do more damage than good.

    The code reference was IRC 2427.8&9 Not sure if it's still on the books, but not a bad idea to have it. Most of the condensation drains on the T's nowadays have a fitting so a drain hose can be attached.

    Last edited by Ken Rowe; 12-03-2012 at 11:32 AM.
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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    It is installed wrong; the drain should be on a run, so it is at the lowest position. With it on a rise, try to imagine the amount of water that has to accumulate before it can drain.

    I recommend you correct it.

    You may find everything you need at a real supply house. Take a picture and measurements; I'm sure they'll help you, or call in a plumber. If it were made of stainless steel instead of galvanized it would probably last forever.

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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    It is installed wrong; the drain should be on a run, so it is at the lowest position. With it on a rise, try to imagine the amount of water that has to accumulate before it can drain.

    I recommend you correct it.
    There is nothing wrong to correct. It's intended to be an emergency overflow drain. It isn't intended to drain condensation or rain water constantly. Minor condensation would evaporate when the vent gets heated. (That piece is single walled). Rainwater coming out tells you to replace the cap. In fact, Here in MN if that drain is inside a masonry chimney there will be a galvanized pipe installed in that hole and routed through the masonry chimney wall so that it visible and not draining to a hidden location (inside the chimney).

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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    That's not intended for rainwater drainage, its for making apparent that the vent cap is smothered/covered/restricted by snow and ice, i.e. exhaust melting same and exhaust backing up. Its not right in its execution, and neither is the manifold & connectors to same to the bvent system, even for MN its wrong.

    Its to let you know to shut systems down until you get out with a roof rake and knock down the icing over tall snow drifts/collections off the roof smothering the vent and possibly covering the vent cap before you attempt to fire up the fueled appliances again, and before the occupants die from CO/anoxia.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 12-03-2012 at 08:47 PM.

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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    That's not intended for rainwater drainage, its for making apparent that the vent cap is smothered/covered/restricted by snow and ice, i.e. exhaust melting same and exhaust backing up. Its not right in its execution, and neither is the manifold & connectors to same to the bvent system, even for MN its wrong.

    Its to let you know to shut systems down until you get out with a roof rake and knock down the icing over tall snow drifts/collections off the roof smothering the vent and possibly covering the vent cap before you attempt to fire up the fueled appliances again, and before the occupants die from CO/anoxia.
    lol This has got to be your best post ever.

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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    There is nothing wrong to correct. It's intended to be an emergency overflow drain. It isn't intended to drain condensation or rain water constantly. Minor condensation would evaporate when the vent gets heated. (That piece is single walled). Rainwater coming out tells you to replace the cap. In fact, Here in MN if that drain is inside a masonry chimney there will be a galvanized pipe installed in that hole and routed through the masonry chimney wall so that it visible and not draining to a hidden location (inside the chimney).
    So you are saying this "emergency overflow drain" just in case the cap is missing. That was a very considerate plumber.

    I agree that minor condensation may burn off. But this system does not appear too old and there is evidence of moisture damage. How do you know there is minor condensation that is burning off, and how do you know the cap is missing?

    On what do you base this conclusion?

    Perhaps it is there to warn of total failure/back flow. Which it may very well be. I have heard of this before. I am more used to seeing a draft hood and spillage sensor.

    Regardless: If it is there for condensation... or rain; it is installed wrong. Whichever, it would work better with the drain on the bottom. If it is there for total failure, there is still a condensation condition.

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    Last edited by Steven Turetsky; 12-03-2012 at 10:00 PM.
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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post

    Perhaps it is there to warn of total failure/back flow. Which it may very well be. I have heard of this before. I am more used to seeing a draft hood and spillage sensor.
    I'm I the only person here that isn't able to see furnace and water heater exhaust gas? What exactly does it look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    I agree that minor condensation may burn off. But this system does not appear too old and there is evidence of moisture damage. How do you know there is minor condensation that is burning off, and how do you know the cap is missing?

    On what do you base this conclusion?
    I didn't say the cap was missing. I said, " The corrosion around the hole tells me that cap is missing or was missing at one time." I have no idea if there is actually minor condensation that is burning off in this particular vent. But common sense and experience tells me a few of ounces of water sitting in a 150 degree vent will burn off. The vent T cap physically can't hold any more than a few ounces...any more than that spills out the overflow hole and does not go into the furnace or water heater. (which it would if it did not have that hole). Common sense and experience also tell me that by looking at the corrosion around the drain hole it has, at one time, had significant water in it. More than just condensation from the furnace/water heater. Common sense and experience also tell me that there's only one other place that the water can come from...a missing rain cap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    Regardless: If it is there for condensation... or rain; it is installed wrong.
    Really? Please cite the code, 'cause I've already cited one that allows it.

    By the way, thank you for posting pictures of the new style drains. They don't allow condensation to just evaporate, they actually discharge them to the floor drain. Basically the only difference...and not used to " warn of total failure/back flow" or "to let you know to shut systems down until you get out with a roof rake and knock down the icing over tall snow drifts/collections off the roof smothering the vent and possibly covering the vent cap before you attempt to fire up the fueled appliances again, and before the occupants die from CO/anoxia."

    Last edited by Ken Rowe; 12-03-2012 at 10:56 PM.
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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    The spillage looks just like CO. Which is why my experience and common sense prefers a sensor. As I clearly stated, I never saw this set up but I have heard of it. I really can't answer as to what would be seen.

    I thought is was clear that I believe it is a condensate drain installed wrong. I think you even called it that. My experience and common sense also tells me that condensation tees are for condensation. Do you think that is why such a part exists?

    I'm sorry if I misquoted you, I interpreted what you said to mean that the damage was due to a missing vent cap. I Googled missing vent cap rain drain tees but came up with nothing. Perhaps you can direct me. Or are you telling me that a condensation tee is really a missing vent cap rain drain tee?

    Why do you keep using the word "minor" when it comes to the condensation? How do you know it is minor? So why are there condensation tees? My experience includes seeing condensation spillage at vents. Have you ever seen this anomaly? I'm sure someone with your experience must have. While I believe it is possible that a vent cap is/may have been missing; why are you totally ruling out the chance of condensation?

    Regarding the use of Code. I must tell you that I am not one of Code Gurus on this site, so I will not argue code with you. But my experience and common sense tells me it would function better if installed as I explained. Is that not true? I don't know if you ever heard this expression before, but Code is not always the best way. Code is a bare minimum.

    Code also says that GFIs are not required (boy am I gonna hear it about this).

    On another note; you seem a bit cranky this evening. Is everything ok?

    Last edited by Steven Turetsky; 12-03-2012 at 11:12 PM.
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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    The spillage looks just like CO.
    I'm sorry, but I can't see or smell CO. Apparently you and Watson can?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    I never saw this set up but I have heard of it. I really can't answer as to what would be seen.
    And that's the problem here. You've never seen this before but you claim it's wrong. I've seen this thousands of times, even in houses built no more than 10 years ago. That's where I get my experience from.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    I thought is was clear that I believe it is a condensate drain installed wrong. I think you even called it that. My experience and common sense also tells me that condensation tees are for condensation. Do you think that is why such a part exists?
    Yes, I think that's exactly why they exist. But I also have the common sense and experience to know they haven't always existed. This is what they used prior to their existence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    I'm sorry if I misquoted you, I interpreted what you said to mean that the damage was due to a missing vent cap. I Googled missing vent cap rain drain tees but came up with nothing. Perhaps you can direct me. Or are you telling me that a condensation tee is really a missing vent cap rain drain tee?
    Apparently you don't understand how this works. If there is a small amount of condensation the single walled Tee heats up enough to burn it off. Notice how the hole is not at the bottom. It will hold some condensation. If the condensation is too much or the rain gets in the vertical vent (from a missing cap) the water goes out the overflow hole so it doesn't run into the furnace or water heater.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    Why do you keep using the word "minor" when it comes to the condensation? How do you know it is minor? So why are there condensation tees? My experience includes seeing condensation spillage at vents. Have you ever seen this anomaly? I'm sure someone with your experience must have. While I believe it is possible that a vent cap is/may have been missing; why are you totally ruling out the chance of condensation?
    Re-read what I wrote. I never said anything was "minor" regarding this particular home. I said this Tee is designed to evaporate minor condensation. In fact I even stated that I have no idea if there is any condensation problem in this vent. In fact, it could be very heavy condensation. But I would look for a missing vent cap before I jumped to any conclusions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    Regarding the use of Code. I must tell you that I am not one of Code Gurus on this site, so I will not argue code with you. But my experience and common sense tells me it would function better if installed as I explained. Is that not true? I don't know if you ever heard this expression before, but Code is not always the best way. Code is a bare minimum.
    Yes, it would be better if it had a newer style condensation drain. Is it wrong? No. Is it hazardous? No. Are you telling everyone reading this that it's wrong? Yes. Do you have any first hand knowledge regarding this drain? No.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    On another note; you seem a bit cranky this evening. Is everything ok?
    I am cranky. When I see professional home inspectors telling the public to block off their condensation drains so when it rains the water enters the furnace and/or water heater, yes I get cranky. When professional home inspectors give advise on something they have no experience or knowledge about I get cranky. When I see professional home inspectors telling the public that they can see combustion exhaust gasses and CO I get cranky.

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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    Ok....So from has been said it sounds like the hole is a drain just in case excessive moister builds up in the T connection (not the "vent connector" as I called it earlier ), and gas will not leak out of it (Unless there is a block in the vertical run) because hot gas raises.

    Thanks for the feed back everyone.


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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    @ Ken

    Based upon semantics you are correct, just like based upon Code that tee is correct, but I really don't care if a minimum code makes it correct, as you stated above "it could be better"..

    The bottom line is that there is a condensation issue there and I would look into it before I would dismiss it as lightly as you. There are a number of possible causes, some of which could be more than a "possible previous missing vent cap.

    I'm sure your outlook would make for "smoother sailing", when the goal is to do thousands and thousands of inspections. I don't think anybody will disagree that in order to do so many inspections, it is necessary to have a large Real Estate Agent referral base. I am more the type of inspector that a private individual retains on their own. In my world the agent factor is not part of the equation. My relationship is strictly between my client/customer and myself. I feel this totally removes the possibility of the obvious conflict of interest. I am very proud of my dedication to my clients/customers (the folks that hire me) and only to my clients... not to the completion of the deal. My experience and common sense tells me that this is the best flavor.

    Anyway, enough small talk.

    Your ad nausea bragging about the thousands and thousands inspections, coupled with your ad nausea use of "experience and common sense" as if you are declaring that you have something that is exclusive to you alone is really weird and rather childish. I am not impressed. I admit there was a time that I was impressed with you, but that is overshadowed. I've known some true masters and I can tell you that they don't have to brag to be realized, and none of them behave so boorishly. Well, I'm sure you are impressed with you.

    Please show me where I stated to close the hole, and show me where I stated I could see CO. And as far as knowing nothing about this particular fitting, my opinion is not based upon the fitting, but rather the condition. If we agree that it could be done better, why would I dismiss it? Or perhaps more important; why would you dismiss it? You know nothing more than I do about this particular location.

    As far as you being cranky; bless your heart Ken, but that is a personal problem. Perhaps you should join up with the "Other" who gets his rocks off addressing people in a demeaning fashion.

    Last edited by Steven Turetsky; 12-05-2012 at 01:03 AM.
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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    @ Ken

    Based upon semantics you are correct, just like based upon Code that tee is correct, but I really don't care if a minimum code makes it correct, as you stated above "it could be better"..
    Yes, it could be better with the installation of an updated Tee with a built in condensation drain. Just like a house built in 1960 could be better if the walls were 2x6 instead of 2x4. Not a necessary or required upgrade. Maybe I should have told him that his mid efficiency furnace was incorrect and he needed a high efficiency furnace installed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    The bottom line is that there is a condensation issue there and I would look into it before I would dismiss it as lightly as you. There are a number of possible causes, some of which could be more than a "possible previous missing vent cap.
    You're assuming there's a condensation issue when, in fact, you don't know. You can see corrosion, but don't know if it's from condensation or rain water. I suppose there could be a "number of possible causes", but I doubt it. I doubt if someone was spraying a hose inside the furnace vent or a burst water pipe leaked into the furnace vent, but I guess you never know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    I'm sure your outlook would make for "smoother sailing", when the goal is to do thousands and thousands of inspections. I don't think anybody will disagree that in order to do so many inspections, it is necessary to have a large Real Estate Agent referral base. I am more the type of inspector that a private individual retains on their own. In my world the agent factor is not part of the equation. My relationship is strictly between my client/customer and myself. I feel this totally removes the possibility of the obvious conflict of interest. I am very proud of my dedication to my clients/customers (the folks that hire me) and only to my clients... not to the completion of the deal. My experience and common sense tells me that this is the best flavor.
    How in the hell does where my work comes from have anything to do with this thread? Talk about childish and boorish.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    Your ad nausea bragging about the thousands and thousands inspections, coupled with your ad nausea use of "experience and common sense" as if you are declaring that you have something that is exclusive to you alone is really weird and rather childish. I am not impressed. I admit there was a time that I was impressed with you, but that is overshadowed. I've known some true masters and I can tell you that they don't have to brag to be realized, and none of them behave so boorishly. Well, I'm sure you are impressed with you.
    Sorry if you mistook truthfulness with bragging. Easy for those with less experience to get them confused. I'm not on here to impress anyone. Just want to give honest answers and learn more myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    Please show me where I stated to close the hole, and show me where I stated I could see CO. And as far as knowing nothing about this particular fitting, my opinion is not based upon the fitting, but rather the condition. If we agree that it could be done better, why would I dismiss it? Or perhaps more important; why would you dismiss it? You know nothing more than I do about this particular location.
    You need to remember this is an open, public forum. Not everything is about you. Also keep in mind you've never seen this before, I have. Here's your quote because you apparently forgot what you stated:

    "The spillage looks just like CO. Which is why my experience and common sense prefers a sensor. As I clearly stated, I never saw this set up but I have heard of it. I really can't answer as to what would be seen."

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    As far as you being cranky; bless your heart Ken, but that is a personal problem. Perhaps you should join up with the "Other" who gets his rocks off addressing people in a demeaning fashion.
    I didn't demean you. I corrected you. You demeaned yourself. If you had never answered this thread with incorrect guesses stated as facts, you wouldn't have been demeaned. You won't see me answering questions regarding EIFS because I know very little about it and haven't seen it very much.

    Last edited by Ken Rowe; 12-05-2012 at 01:43 PM.
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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrod McGill View Post
    Ok....So from has been said it sounds like the hole is a drain just in case excessive moister builds up in the T connection (not the "vent connector" as I called it earlier ), and gas will not leak out of it (Unless there is a block in the vertical run) because hot gas raises.

    Thanks for the feed back everyone.
    Correct.

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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    Aside from the bladder emptying competition, this is fascinating to me, because I've never seen or heard of these condensate tees or anything like them!
    Must be a regional thing?

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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    The spillage looks just like CO...
    Maybe this has already been cleared up, but I assume this is simply pointing out, in a somewhat sarcastic manner (not that there's anything wrong with that), that CO and spillage are both invisible?

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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    Maybe this has already been cleared up, but I assume this is simply pointing out, in a somewhat sarcastic manner (not that there's anything wrong with that), that CO and spillage are both invisible?
    John, that statement along with the words " that is why I prefer a sensor" are a slightly sarcastic (in response to sarcasm turned nasty) way of agreeing that CO is invisible.

    You're right about the pissing contest part too, which is why I desisted. But it is about much more than that. There is much more in that photo than a bit of corrosion at the condensate escape hole. If you look at the photo, you can see that the entire horizontal run has been recently replaced AND the new fitting... whether you are familiar with it or not already has sustained damage.

    We all have our mission(s), reasons, and ends. My reason, mission and end is why I would not dismiss this condition so lightly.

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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    You're right about the pissing contest part too, which is why I desisted.
    Doesn't seen like you've desisted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    But it is about much more than that. There is much more in that photo than a bit of corrosion at the condensate escape hole. If you look at the photo, you can see that the entire horizontal run has been recently replaced AND the new fitting... whether you are familiar with it or not already has sustained damage.
    I'd be willing to bet an inspection fee that that horizontal run is at least 10 years old along with the Tee connector. I find it interesting that a person who previously stated:
    I never saw this set up but I have heard of it. I really can't answer as to what would be seen.
    would know the difference between a new one and old one. It amazes me that you stated you Google searched these Tees and couldn't find them and I told you it's an old design, but now you state that it's been recently replaced. Are you so stubborn that you can't simply agree with another inspector who has actually seen these thousands of times before. In fact, here in MN they are installed in every house that has a non high efficiency furnace. Yes, they're that common.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    We all have our mission(s), reasons, and ends. My reason, mission and end is why I would not dismiss this condition so lightly.
    What condition Steven? The OP asked:
    Can some one explain to me what this hole is for?
    You can make all the guesses you want, implicate CO2 leaks, incorrect fitting or whatever else you can come up with off two small pictures of something you've never seen before. But, unless you've got some sort of experience inspecting these you really shouldn't make guesses and pass them off as facts.

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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    Ken I really do not want to continue this with you. While you bring up certain indications that I agree with, I also see indications that cause me to disagree, or at least cause me enough concern to merit looking deeper.

    Based solely on the indications in the photos I would not dismiss, you would.

    We each have own ways.

    So you do it your way and I will do mine.

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    Default Re: What is the reasoning behind this

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    Ken I really do not want to continue this with you. While you bring up certain indications that I agree with, I also see indications that cause me to disagree, or at least cause me enough concern to merit looking deeper.

    Based solely on the indications in the photos I would not dismiss, you would.

    We each have own ways.

    So you do it your way and I will do mine.
    Dismiss what Steven? The reason the hole is there? That's what the OP wanted to know.

    Unlike you apparently, I don't just dismiss things, as you've been dismissing my experience and knowledge of these Tees. As far as the corrosion, you or me or anyone else can't know the cause unless we actually were there to see it first hand. In my experience it's typically caused by a missing rain cap. What's your experience been? Oh that's right, you've never seen it before.

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    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

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