Thermo-Bilt blog

Winterizing Your Windows

Prepare for a Cold Winter: Winterizing Your Windows & Doors

With winter approaching it’s important to prepare your home. Drafts or leaks can make the winter season in your home uncomfortable, and even cause susceptibility to illness. Proper preparation does more than keep you warm and snug, it can lead to significant energy savings. Here are some tips to help you stay warm this winter, without running up your heating bill.

Finding the Source of Leaks and Drafts

One or two drafts can cost you serious money! A leak or draft can decrease your home’s energy efficiency by anywhere from five to thirty percent. To find the source of leaks and drafts check where two different building materials meet, for example: corners or frames. If a visual inspection does not yield results another option is an incense test. Light a candle or a stick of incense and hold it in front of your window or door. If the smoke wavers, then you could have cold air sneaking in.

Caulking

Improve your window’s ability to seal out the cold by scraping away old caulking and applying new caulking. To do this, first clean the dirt from the window with soapy water and then wipe dry. Apply fresh caulk around the window frame and siding. For the best results, use exterior grade caulk, either one hundred percent silicone sealant or acrylic caulk that will last for years.

Weather Stripping

Once you are finished caulking outside, you can move inside and begin weather stripping to seal around the sash – which is the movable parts of the window that opens and closes. Although there are many options for weather stripping, one of the easiest are window insulation kits. These large sheets of adhesive plastic cover your window, insulating it, and when properly installed are virtually invisible. The one drawback is that you cannot open your windows until spring.

Check Your Door’s Alignment

Like your windows, you can improve your door’s insulating power by looking for drafts and leaks. Then solve those issues by caulking the exterior and working on your door’s frame. However, it is also important to check your door’s alignment; adjusting the hinges and strike plates if necessary.

Replace Inefficient Windows and Doors

Even though replacing your windows and doors is an investment, it’s an investment that proves its worth because it will increase your home’s energy efficiency. This increased efficiency will save you money.

Consider Thermo-Bilt windows. They are made of low-emissivity glass, which has a thin metallic coating that reflects heat back to its source. Thermo-Bilt windows also breaks down organic material, which allows in more light. Allowing more light in reduces the need for energy consumption. Thermo-Bilt doors are also built with energy efficiency in mind, no matter the material.

There are many ways to identify areas that are draining your home’s energy efficiency. However, it is important to recognize when the simple fixes are not enough. Consider Thermo-Bilt windows and doors if you are looking to invest in your home’s energy efficiency.

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a 4 panel window depicting each of the four seasons through each window pane.

3 Reasons Why Fall is The Best Time to Replace Your Home’s Windows

As you wind down after a busy and fun-filled Summer, it’s now the ideal time to start tackling some of the home improvement jobs in order to button up your home in time for colder weather.  If you’ve been thinking of replacement windows for your home; don’t wait until you feel the uncomfortable draft of cold air coming from a leaky window. This could also cause you to experience higher than normal costs from heating bills. You can always schedule a window replacement job anytime of the year. You certainly want to take advantage of the beautiful crisp-warm weather that Autumn has to offer. Especially, while you upgrade your home’s value and appearance with new windows! Here are some benefits why Fall is the best time to replace your home’s windows:

Homes shrink in colder weather such as, during the winter

Why is this important? Well, in colder weather the cracks in your home’s foundation become exposed and as a result could make the installation of your new windows tricky. Experienced professionals will still be able to successfully install new windows during winter however, it requires specialized skills and tools which may add to the overall cost of installation.  Which is why it is recommended to replace your windows during mild to cool temperatures, ideally in the Fall.

Replacing windows exposes your home to the elements

Yes, there may be a gaping hole in the wall where your window is supposed to be while the installation job is in progress.  Although professionals work very hard  to maintain your comfortability in your home by limiting the exposure to the outdoors, still the outside air will come through your home.  If you have small children in your home, it is ideal to replace your windows in the Fall. So that exposure to outside air will be less of an issue. In fact, the weather during Autumn may actually be refreshing in your home while your new windows are being replaced.

Winter is coming and it is much more difficult to change windows in the winter

We briefly covered this already but, it’s always helpful to be thorough.  Our professionals are able to replace your windows during the winter and this may require specialized technique and tools to ensure that when your home expands during hotter weather. In the Summer, you don’t experience any thermal cracks in the window. It can be a tedious and more a difficult job, which is why typically busy season for window installers are during the summer or fall.  You’ll certainly want to consider getting your windows replacement job done during more mild weather conditions to optimize the overall results. For more information or to obtain a free quote, contact Thermo-Bilt Windows & Doors.  We service Markham and the GTA area, located at 3790 Victoria Park Ave #203 in Toronto or 16 Esna Park Drive #106 in Markham. Our services include: Window Replacement Services Window Installation Services Door Installation Services Door Replacement Services Planning and Designing Rebates and Financing Support We’re happy to answer any questions and provide our best recommendation for your home’s window and door replacement needs, give us a call today.
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child looking out through a window over a window ledge

5 Things to Look For in Windows Replacement Companies

Seeking out window replacement companies can be as  challenging as purchasing a new vehicle.  It’s the type of decision-making you don’t have to face often.  For most people, they only have to consider window replacements a handful of times in their life meaning, they're probably not too experienced with the whole ordeal. Well, we’ve provided a helpful list of the 5 most important things to look for when inquiry with window replacement companies.  Here they are:

a. Energy Efficiency

Most people consider replacing their windows with new ones to improve both their homes aesthetics and to lower their energy consumption.  With rising energy costs, everyone loves seeing savings on their energy bills.  Replacing your windows is one very effective way to improve how your home retains heat and keeps the cold air out.  Just a friendly tip that insulated windows that make your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer

b. Self-Cleaning

When considering various window types, it’s important to inquire if the windows are self-cleaning.  Yes, there are windows that are self-cleaning! It’s a great option to avoid having to pay high costs for professional window cleaners or having to labour over doing it yourself. Coated windows practically clean themselves and provide better  insulation.

c. Safety & Security

When obtaining quotes for your new windows, most people are seeking a great deal however, another important feature to consider is the safety and security the new windows would provide for your home.  There are various window designs that are made up of different materials. Additionally, you’ll want to choose a window type that is both suitable for your everyday preferences and provides ultimate security for your home.  Thermo-bilt’s best recommendation is to look for F-10 (no forced entry) rated window locks. d. Free Quotes

You shouldn’t have to pay any money upfront to get the information you need to make the important decision to replace your windows.  A professional window replacement company should provide you with a free quote or estimate. e. One-day Installation

Furthermore, your home will be exposed to the outside elements while your windows are being installed. It’s important to find a company who can complete the installation in one-day.  It would not be ideal to have gaping holes overnight, where your windows are supposed to be.

Thermo-Bilt Windows & Doors can offer you all of these benefits.  For more information or to obtain a free quote, contact Thermo-Bilt.  We service Markham and the GTA area, located at 3790 Victoria Park Ave #203 in Toronto or 16 Esna Park Drive #106 in Markham.

Our services include: Window Replacement Services Window Installation Services Door Installation Services Door Replacement Services Planning and Designing Rebates and Financing Support

We’re happy to answer any questions and provide our best recommendation for your home’s window and door replacement needs, give us a call today.

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22.09.2016

Choosing the Correct Time to Replace your Windows

When is the best time of year to replace your windows?

Replacing windows is a major investment which can provide big savings over time. With a life expectancy measured in decades rather than years, your choice in windows will affect you now and in the future. Window replacement is a serious commitment. Leaving anything to chance is simply not worth the risk. That is why so many people want to know: when is the best time of year to replace your home’s windows?

Factors to consider when you are replacing your windows

When replacing your windows there are many factors that you need to consider like style, colour, and materials. Before you call a contractor you should have some idea of what you want, and what your budget is. Once you have a rough sketch of what you want, the next question is: when?

Replace your windows right now!

Unfortunately, many people don’t have the luxury of choosing when to replace their windows. Instead they are forced by leaks, damage, drafts, and other issues to replace their windows immediately. If your current windows are allowing moisture, precipitation, drafts, or bugs into your home; the best time to replace your windows is always right away! Old, ill-fitting windows that allow the outdoors inside are costing you money every single day. Moisture can cause mold, warp wood, and even cause structural damage. On top of that, in the summer a window that doesn’t fit properly will allow in hot air, and let it out in the winter. This can add a serious chunk of change to your energy bill.

Choose the most convenient time

If you are replacing your windows for stylistic purposes, or as a preventative measure then you have a bit more leeway and can schedule your project depending on the weather and season – two important factors when choosing the best time of year to replace your home’s windows. Remember that window replacement is a disruptive process that will expose your home to the elements (to some degree). While expert window replacement specialists will do everything they can to make the process as minimally invasive and disruptive as possible, no matter who you hire there will be a point between the old windows removal and the new windows installation when your house is open to the world. If you have the luxury of choosing then the best time to replace your windows is when the weather is the driest and mildest. You want to avoid the peak of summer or the dead of winter since during these periods you’ll want to keep your house air conditioned or heated. You’ll want to avoid the rainy spring for obvious reasons. Comfort aside, the extreme cold and wet can also negatively affect the installation process as caulking won’t seal properly, and window parts may contract in the cold. Late summer is arguably the best time to replace your windows, especially around late August or early September. As many households are focussed on getting their kids back to school instead of home improvement. Early fall may also be a less busy time for your contractor. In addition to the mild, dry fall weather, in early to mid-September your kids will be out of the house, minimizing any disruption caused by the replacement process.   So, when is the best time to replace your windows? Whenever works best for you. But keep in mind that you ideally want mild, dry weather, and that the process will always be a bit of a disruption. However, the payoff of new windows will be decades of savings and enjoyment – well worth the investment.
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13.09.2016

Learn why the History of your Windows is Important

How to Tell When Your Home’s Windows Were Made Knowing when your home’s windows were made is very important, but unless you were the homeowner at the time they were installed, or were given that information when you bought your home how can you know for certain? Even then, can you trust that the information that was passed onto you is completely accurate? Even if you don’t have a reason to believe that you were misinformed, there is no substitute for checking first hand and seeing for yourself – especially since it is so easy to tell when your home’s windows were made. How to date your windows: 1) Open your window. 2)  Inspect the inside of the frame. You should be regularly cleaning your windows but if not you may have to apply some elbow grease to clear away any dust. 3) The date should be etched into the inner metal frame of the window. 4) In addition to the date of manufacturing there should also be some additional information like the name of the manufacturer. Unfortunately, it’s not always so easy to date your windows. All window manufacturers do things somewhat differently, and even then the same manufacturer may vary their dating process slightly between different models. What to do when you can’t find a date on your window If you can’t find the date on the inside of the window frame then you’re going to have to do a bit of detective work. If you manage to find the manufacturer’s name on the window then there is a good chance that if you keep searching you will eventually find the date as well. If not, then your next best bet is to visit the manufacturer’s website, find your window model, and look up the information online. This still may not give you the date. The next step will be to call the window manufacturer with as much information about your window as possible. Once you’ve been able to find your window model, keep track of everything you know. Know your window’s story For example, if you’ve been living in the house for five years then you know the windows are older than that. If the windows weren’t brand new when you moved in, then it may be safe to guess they were at least seven years old. Call the manufacturer with all this information and a description of your window and they will usually do their best to help you. If you choose to email the manufacturer, then consider attaching photos of your window. If they can’t provide you with the exact date then they should be able to tell you where to find it on the window. Were contractors hired to install the windows? If so, then call the contractor and ask them for any information that they have. They should be able to provide you with a date, or at the very least with some manufacturer and warranty information. The importance of knowing when your windows were made Knowing when your windows were made will help you answer the following questions:
  • Are they still under warranty? Most windows are under warranty for 10-30 years depending on the manufacturer, model, and materials. If you experience any damage or other issues then it is important to have the warranty information readily available in order to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.
  • Do they need replaced? You shouldn’t wait until your windows are in obvious need of repair.
  • Can I afford to replace them? Knowing how old your windows are means that you can plan ahead for major repairs or replacements instead of being stuck short on cash with a potentially pricey project on your hands.
When you uncover the date of your windows or have new windows installed be sure to ask for as much information as possible, and keep track of any paperwork relating to the windows. If you sell your home, then remember to pass this information on to the new buyers – they’ll appreciate it!
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Beautiful high tech windows in a modern room

Are Smart Windows the Way of the Future?

For starters, when you put the word ‘smart’ in front of anything nowadays, you can expect it is certainly the way of the future.  Just like smartphones and smart TVs, smart windows have capabilities far greater than the existing type, it just keeps getting better and smarter.  It’s functionality is pretty much effortless and it is designed to predict human preferences with the slightest touch of temperature.   What is a Smart Window? Smart windows is sometimes called dynamic glass or switchable glass. The technology has been around for almost 20 years and you may be familiar with them in the form of transitional lenses for eyeglasses. However, on a larger scale smart window replacements are made of glass that generally changes from translucent to transparent.  The glass on smart windows can be electronically tuned to selectively block heat, light or glare by quickly changing from clear to tinted. There are several types of smart window technologies that are currently being developed and tested such as,  electrochromic, photochromic, thermochromic, polymer dispersed liquid crystal, and more.  To keep things simple, we’ll stick with considering only the way smart window replacements function compared to traditional window types.  For now, smart windows are activated with an electronic switch, but it won’t be surprising if some type of voice activation is introduced soon! Here are some of the benefits of smart windows:
  • It would eliminate the need for  blinds and shades.  SInce the smart glass can selectively change to provide tint, there would be no need to purchase curtains or custom blinds for your home.
  • Smart windows preserve daytime and nighttime views
  • People can enjoy shading on-demand.  
  • Minimize glare in the room, particularly while watching daytime TV in a room with large windows.
  • They could generate huge savings on heating and cooling costs
  • Maximize daylighting
  • Protecting the colour on fabric furnishings from fading
  • Provides the same level of privacy as completely closed curtain or blinds would
All the benefits seem too good to be true so, what's keeping smart windows from becoming mainstream?  The cost. Currently the market for smart glass is finding it’s way into commercial buildings however, residential smart glass is expected to cost about two or three times as much as conventional glass.  However, similar to other advances in technology, the cost is likely to drop with further research and development into the product.  Remember when you couldn’t get a flat screen TV for under $1000? Now, you could buy one anywhere from $200 and up.   When the cost of smart windows  reaches an affordable rate for the average homeowner, surely, smart windows would be a popular choice when considering window replacements, not to mention it would be a really good investment into the value of the home. For more information on affordable quality window replacements for your home, contact Thermo-Bilt windows and door replacement experts in Toronto at 416-756-0798 or online.  Get a free quote and consultation with no obligation.
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Beautiful windows in an empty room

How New Windows Can Improve Home Security

Style and efficiency are typically the main things people consider when planning on replacing their windows in their home.  Well, how about safety and security?  Making the decision to replace your windows is an important decision. When making this decision, you should not only consider the energy efficiency, style, and design of the windows but also the level of security it provides.  You should inspect the windows and doors in your home often to ensure they are not showing any signs of damage to the window itself, the casing, or the frame,  Any signs of damage to the window, the casing, or the frame could mean your home is vulnerable to unwanted guests and is probably not as energy efficient as you need it to be. Did you know that windows are the weakest point of entry in the home?  When you’re ready to consider replacement windows, you should contact a windows and door replacement expert for your inquiries.  They can help you choose a highly secure window type without distracting from their appearance at all.  With the right information, securing your home with replacement windows doesn’t have to be a big budget project. Lock Mechanism One of the first things you should ask about is the lock mechanism and how it works.  The lock should be quite easy to function and most importantly it should provide you with complete peace of mind that it’s going to do a great job of keeping out intruders.   Reinforced Glass Burglars tend to choose the path of least resistance.  You can install an invisible security window film that makes them a lot more difficult to break.  
  • Tempered glass is one of the best ways to reinforce your windows because it is much more durable than traditional glass.  It’s a little more expensive than traditional glass however, it does provide added security and is the least expensive option for reinforced glass.  
  • Laminated glass is another great option.  It consists of a layer of vinyl between two sheets of regular glass.  To break through this type of reinforced window, the intruder would have to strike the window multiple time in the same spot, also creating a lot of noise and disruption.  The intruder is likely to run off or get caught before they could even penetrate the window enough to create an opening.
Casement Windows Casement windows function with a crank on the inside of the window.  They open and close similar to the motion of a door.  These types of windows are considered the most secure type of window because, with no way to turn the crank from the outside.  If a casement window is closed tightly and locked, it’s pretty much impossible for an intruder to enter through this type window.  No added hardware or external lock is needed to make this window any more secure that how it’s already built. Double-Hung Windows This is a classic style window, it slides vertically up and down.  This type of window has two operable sashes which allows you the option of opening the upper sash for ventilation.  Typically this would be the preferred window type for families with small children because it is the safest and most convenient for ventilating air into the room by opening only the upper window, the part that is unreachable for children.  When the lock is engaged, it holds both sashes in place so they cannot move.   For more information on replacement windows to improve home security, contact Thermo-Bilt windows and door replacement experts in Toronto at 416-756-0798 or online.  Get a free quote and consultation with no obligation.
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Beautiful white bow window fitted in a bright living room from the inside looking out

How to Tell it is Time to Replace your Home’s Windows

Not sure if it is time to invest in replacement windows? Maybe your reasons are aesthetic. Upgrading an old look can have you falling in love with your house again. Replacement windows can also add to the value of your home. It may be easy to tell if your windows look old, but you may feel less confident about understanding the functional reasons for installing replacement windows. If so, look for these clues around your home to help you determine whether or not you should make the switch to new windows. Visible Damage The first indication you may need replacement windows is that your current windows are not looking their best. Over time water may warp your window’s frames or cause the wood to rot. You may also find cracks in the window’s seals. These issues can have a serious impact on the functionality of your windows. If the seal is cracked then your window’s functionality will be diminished, driving up your heating bills in winter and cooling bills in summer. Warped frames make opening and closing your windows frustrating and complicated. In some cases, even unsafe. Windows often function as an emergency exit. The absolute last thing you want in a fire or flood is to be trapped by a faulty window. At a certain point investing in replacement windows becomes a matter of investing in the safety of your home. Your window’s locks are another safety concern. It is easier to get a good night’s sleep if you are confident your windows are structurally sound with working locks. Repair Bills Repairs can be a hassle and over time the costs associated with repair – tools, parts and labour – can add up to more than a set of replacement windows. This is especially true with older windows. Depending on the age of your windows, replacement parts may become harder and harder to find. You may have to throw in the towel and opt for new windows instead. Draft Broken windows will let in a draft, making heating and cooling your home more difficult and expensive. Finding a draft isn’t always as obvious as you may think. Whistling is a good indicator that your window is not insulating well. If you don’t hear whistling but still suspect a window is letting in a draft, light a candle and hold it in front of the suspected area. A draft will cause the flame to flicker. Installing draft reducing replacement windows saves you money on your energy bill and keeps you comfortable. Fading If you notice fabrics, (like your curtains, your couch) or artwork around your home looking less vibrant then your windows might be the culprit. Different types of windows block different amounts of the sun’s harmful UV rays. Single-pane glass does the poorest job of stopping these rays and if you notice severe damage to your belongings this could be the reason. Older houses also tend to have single pane glass. When researching replacement windows consider where you keep valuable furniture and heirlooms. With these tips you’ll be better equipped to make a decision about whether it’s time for a window repair or to install replacement windows.
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Condensation on the inside of two newly fitted casement windows

Why is there Condensation in My Home’s Window?

Foggy windows obscure your view and if left unchecked, the condensation build up can spoil more than that. Excessive condensation can lead to structural damage. The window’s frame and sill can warp and begin functioning poorly. You could even be so unlucky as to develop a problem with mold and mildew. It may be especially frustrating if this happens after installing replacement windows throughout your home. Ironically, condensation on the inside of your windows is a good sign. Condensation occurs when warm air meets a cold surface, moisture from the warm air becomes liquid again. Your replacement windows reduce drafts and so indoor air retains more moisture. As humidity increases, so does condensation. This type of condensation is actually not a problem with your windows – but an issue with the ventilation in your home. Instead, when it comes to your windows what is more concerning is finding moisture between window panes. A double paned window holds a layer of gas between the two panes of glass. Condensation occurs when the window’s seal has broken, air has been allowed in and it condenses on the interior of the window’s two panes. This is when you window has failed and you should consider replacement windows. How does this happen? Your windows work harder for you than you know. That gas in between the window panes expands and contracts as it heats up during the day and cools down at night. This temperature fluctuation creates pressure and that pressure is one factor in causing the window’s seal to break. Windows on the sunnier side of the home experience wider temperature swings and therefore, experience more stress. How can I tell if the seal is broken? Seeing the moisture build up is not the only way to detect a broken seal. There is another visible sign that the moisture causes. It leaves calcium on the glass in the form of a white film. This film usually indicates a broken seal and is particularly unsightly. Issues with a broken window seal may be harder to detect on windows located in the shade. Condensation usually occurs after the window has been heated by direct sunlight. Why do I need replacement windows? The condensation obscures your view, which is reason enough to replace your windows. For some, the view is the best part of their home. Replacement windows add value to your home by replacing the irritating condensation and unpleasant calcium build-up that may spoil one of your property’s best selling-points. Water droplets carve grooves into your window through a process known as riverbedding. The water follows narrow paths and over time erodes the glass to create visible grooves in your window. If you see this happening, then you should replace your windows right away. Condensation between your window panes or riverbedding are signs that your windows are not functioning as they should. Your windows should insulate your home and provide a barrier to cold air, but a broken seal prevents your windows from performing this task effectively. Installing replacement windows will keep your home running efficiently and affordably.
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Beautiful white sliding windows fitted in a living room from the outside looking in

3 Things to Know When Looking for the Best Window Replacement Companies

When planning home renovations, windows are an important factor, especially if you’re renovating with energy efficiency in mind. There are a number of different models on the market that can help to properly insulate your house, cut down on drafts as well as outside noise. When choosing new windows for your home, because of all the choices out there, it’s best to approach your decision with basic things in mind. You want to get the right windows for your home that will do what you need them to for the best price. Are your current windows old? Are the frames rotting away? Then you may want to pay special attention to the material of your new windows and pick something with a little less upkeep that will last a long time. Vinyl windows are a good option because of their durability. If you’re more concerned with energy efficiency, then you’ll want to look into the different types of window coating which help improve your insulation. Whatever your needs, here are some things you should know when looking to replace your windows at the best price per window. 1. Price Doesn't Necessarily Indicate Performance Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to spend more to get more. You can pay less for top quality windows. Depending on the type of window you’re looking for, you may find that you don’t need to spend top dollar to get what you need. You’d be surprised at some of the great quality windows that are affordable. The best option is to look at consumer reports and see which windows tested the best - it isn’t always the most expensive. 2. Match your windows to your climate Climate is an important consideration. Living in Canada, you’re not going to want to choose a window that has poor insulation or doesn’t seal up tightly since we spend the majority of our year in the cold. 3. Energy Efficiency When looking for windows consider the Energy Star rating. There are two numbers that are important specifically to choosing a window with our climate in mind. The first is the U factor, which is usually between 0.20 to 1.20. The lower the number the better the window is at keeping heat in. The second number is the solar heat gain coefficient which is between 0 and 1, and indicates how efficient the window is at keeping out heat from the sun. The higher the number, the better the window is at letting heat in, which is better for people who live in colder climates. 4, Don't Overpay on Options When looking at options, it’s best to choose based on what will bring the best value. Upgrades can easily add 50 per cent or more to your base cost. For instance, Low-E coatings improve efficiency, but adding triple glaze probably isn’t necessary as well, unless you live in extremely cold climates. There are also options that will help make cleaning your windows easier, let more light in, etc. Choose the options that you really need to save yourself money by opting out of the rest. There are a lot of window choices and options out there. Consider what elements are most important to you when making your choice. Whether it’s energy efficiency, a low price per window or noise and UV filtration, do some research before choosing the right windows for your home.
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