How Much Does an RV Water Heater Cost? (2023)

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When you make the decision to purchase an RV, you are making a serious financial commitment. Depending on the RV you decide to purchase, you could be making a purchase that reaches six figures in price. However, you are not done making purchases after you buy your RV. There are a few other things you will need to purchase to ensure that you have everything running well when you head out on your trip. One of those things is an RV water heater tank.

An RV water heater tank is an essential purchase for anyone that plans on using their RV for a significant amount of time. Without one all your water will be cold, so you will be limited in what you can do. You will not be able to take a hot shower, and you will not be able to properly wash your dishes.

So, you will need to take the time to find the best RV water heater tank for you. There are several options available to you, but not all will be a great fit. If you have a smaller RV, you might not need a large water heater tank. Alternatively, you may want to purchase a big water heater tank if you have a larger RV and plan on bringing more people on your next trip. The more people coming with you on your trip, the more hot water you will need.

(Video) RV Water Heaters - Learn about your RV water heater

All About RV Water Heater Tanks

When it comes to RV water heater tanks they are split up into sizes and ways to heat the water. The are two major sizes for water heater tanks, 6 and 10 gallons. There are also two main ways to heat the water in the tank, propane, and electric. Each as their pros and cons. So, you will need to consider which is the best option for you.

Electric and Propane

Electric water heater tanks are some of the most popular because they are also some of the easiest to maintain. Once they are up and running there is not really anything you need to do. You do not need to worry about the pilot light going out. All you need to do is switch the heat on and it should sustain itself.

Electric water heater tanks are usually cheaper than other options and are very efficient. Unfortunately, they do take longer to heat things up, and they tend to have higher operating costs. So, these are things you will need to balance when making your purchase.

One of the biggest benefits of using a propane water heater tank is that it will generally pay for itself over time. You do not need to pay nearly as much for fuel with the propane tank. You will need to replenish your propane every once in a while, but that should be relatively infrequent. They are also able to heat more hot water per hour than an electric heater.

Propane heaters will also work if you don’t have electricity or there are generator restrictions at your campground. Unfortunately, the base price of a propane water heater is higher than an electric one. So, if you can’t afford to pay a little extra upfront you will need to go with an electric option. You also need to maintain your propane heater to find any gas leaks.


The two most common sizes for RV water heater tanks are 6 and 10 gallons. You can find smaller and larger options, but 6 and 10 gallons is usually a good size for most people. The more people you plan on having in your RV, the larger the water heater tank you will need. It is better to get a slightly bigger tank than you expect you will need, because otherwise there is a risk that you deplete your supply.

Which RV Water Heater Is Best for Me?

When you are trying to figure out which RV water heater is best for you, you need to ask yourself a few questions. How many people will be staying in your RV? How much are you willing to spend on your water heater? Are you ok with spending extra time performing maintenance on your water heater? All these questions and a few more will play a big roll in deciding which water heater to purchase.

If you have a larger group you will want to go with the 10 gallon option, or you might even consider a 16 gallon water heater. That is completely up to your discretion. You then need to decide if you want an electric or propane heater. Both are solid options, but propane heaters are more versatile.

Most importantly, propane water heaters will work even if you have no electricity available. This can happen a lot when you are out in the woods or if your campground has generator time limits, which most do. So it is best to be prepared. Although they are more expensive initially, they will save you money in the long term. So, unless you cannot afford to pay a larger lump sum upfront, you should consider purchasing a propane water heater.

Best RV Water Heaters with 6 and 10 Gallon Tanks

Here we will look at some of the best RV water heaters with tanks. This should give you a few good options for starting your search.

Best 6 Gallon Water Heaters for RVs

Here we will look at 6 gallon RV water heaters exclusively. So, if you need a larger tank you can skip this section. These types of RV water heaters typically cost are $350.

1. Suburban Manufacturing RV Water Heater

This RV water heater from Suburban Manufacturing is an excellent option if you are looking for a 6 gallon water heater. It weighs only 32.9 pounds, so you can pick it up and move it without straining yourself too much. Additionally, it as a BTU rating of 12,000, giving it the ability to keep heat up your water quickly.

(Video) Best RV Water Heaters 💧 (Buyer’s Guide) | RV Expertise

Susan and I have a 6 gallon water heater and we have never run out of hot water while showering. However, we conserve water even when we have full hookups so we turn the water off while washing and then turn it back on to rinse ourselves.

2. Atwood Mobile Products Pilot Ignition RV Water Heater

How Much Does an RV Water Heater Cost? (1)

This 6 gallon water heater runs on liquid propane gas. It has a BTU rating of 8800. So it is a little slower, but it will keep things hot once it reaches the desired temperature. The water heater has a recovery rate of 7.4 gallons per hour. It also has a very light shipping weight of just 25 pounds. So, you can install it on your own if need be. Many people do not have the luxury of a friend to help them with installation, so having a water heater that you can install yourself is a huge plus.

Best 10 Gallon Water Heaters for RVs

Here we will be looking at a few of the best 10 gallon RV water heaters on the market right now. These water heaters are better than the previous group if you are bringing a larger group with you in your RV. You will need more hot water, so you will a larger RV water heater tank. These water heaters are a little more expensive because they are larger and usually are around $450.

1. Suburban 10-Gallon Direct Spark RV Water Heater

How Much Does an RV Water Heater Cost? (2)

This 10 gallon water heater from Suburban Manufacturing is electric. It has a BTU rating of 12,000, so it can heat the water up relatively quickly. It uses a direct spark ignition to start it up. Additionally, it is heavier than the 6 gallon options as it weighs 46 pounds. However, this is expected because it is obviously larger.

2. Atwood 10 Gallon RV Water Heater

This Atwood water heater has a capacity of 10 gallons and it uses a direct spark electric ignition to start. It is a dual electric and gas water heater. So, you can use different types of energy to keep it running at different times. This can be extremely beneficial depending on your situation. If you run out of propane you can use electricity, or if there is a power outage you can use propane.

The water heater has a 10,000 BTU recovery rate of 14.7 gallons per hour. It has an empty weight of 24 pounds. Finally, its dimensions are 16 inches wide, 16 inches high, and 21 inches deep.

How do Tankless RV Water Heaters Work?

Most RV water heaters is a tank to heat its water. The water goes into the tank and then heat is applied to the tank to heat the water up. This is the way water has been heated up for years in the RV industry. However, there have been changes in recent years, and now there are tankless RV water heaters.

A tankless water heater functions by heating the water directly without using a storage tank. The water will heat up while its in the pipes after a tap or faucet is turned on. As a result, it takes a few seconds for water to heat up when you do not have a tank. The hot water is not readily accessible, but it still heats up very quickly.

A huge benefit of using a tankless water heater is that you do not need to wait for hours for your water tank to fill up. Additionally, with a water tank you are limited in how much hot water you have. A tankless water heater will provide you with limitless hot water.

Best Tankless Water Heaters for RVs

Here we will look at a few of the best tankless RV water heaters on the market right now. You might see an option that is a perfect fit, or you might not like any of the options. Regardless, seeing a few options should give you an idea of what to look for in the future. Tankless water heaters can have a pretty big range in price. Smaller options can be as cheap as $300. However, larger tanks can cost upwards of $600 or $700.

(Video) Buying RV Water Heaters (Atwood | Suburban)

1. Girard Tankless Water Heater

How Much Does an RV Water Heater Cost? (3)

This tankless RV water heater will provide you with an endless supply of hot water. It operates with ease, adding cold water when needed to reach the desired temperature. It uses an on-board micro-processor to monitor the incoming cold water as well as the outgoing hot water to keep the temperature constant.

The water heater provides you with 42,000 BTUs of optimum performance for your RV plumbing. You do not need a special propane gas line or special plumbing to get it to work. It has a quiet motor, so you will not feel like you need to cover your ears every time it is running. It operates with 12 volts of power and at less than 3 amps. Finally, the product has a limited two year warranty, so if something goes wrong you can get a replacement.

2. Excel Vent Free Tankless Water Heater

How Much Does an RV Water Heater Cost? (4)

The Excel Vent Free tankless RV water heater will save energy while providing you with an infinite supply of hot water as soon as you open the tap. Most tankless gas water heaters rely on outdated rubber diaphragm technology to get the unit running, and they need pressures higher than 20 PSI. This water heater uses a magnetic flow sensor that allows it to start running at just 2 PSI. However, it also works at up to 120 PSI. This is an ideal water heater for an RV.

This water heater can be installed indoors without cumbersome, costly flue, and ductwork because it is equipped with a state-of-the-art Oxygen Depletion Safety shutoff device. The water heater does not require a pilot light and it saves up to 25% in gas consumption compared to what was needed with older technology.

3. Eccotemp Propane Tankless Water Heater

How Much Does an RV Water Heater Cost? (5)

This water heater from Eccotemp is a liquid propane fired, tankless water heater. It is designed for small to medium hot water production in places where you need more than one hot water application running at the same time. It is a perfect option for an RV.

The water heater offers a 45 degree Fahrenheit temperature rise when it is operating at maximum capacity. Alternatively, it offers a 77-degree temperature rise at 2.3 GPM. Included with the water heater is a horizontal stainless steel vent kit that is ready for you to install. Additionally, the water heater only pulls 2 watts when idle and 10 watts when operating.

This RV water heater has a flow capacity of 4 GPM. It uses power ventilation for safety, efficiency, and venting options. It has independent gas and water controls, as well as precise temperature and water flow adjustment. To function, the water heater requires a standard 120-volt electric outlet. It has an energy factor of 79% and a hot water capacity range of 0.93 to 4.8 GPM. Finally, the water heater has minimum and maximum gas rates of 25,000 to 74,500 BTUs.

Get Your Next Trip Started with the Best RV Water Heater for You

After reading, we hope you have all the information you need to purchase your first RV water heater. We know there is a lot of information to absorb, but it should all be helpful in your search for the perfect water heater for your RV. Your water heater is a very important part of your RV. Without a good water heater, the quality of your trips will be reduced significantly. As a result, you need to take the time to do your research and ensure that you water heater you pick is the perfect fit.

When you are looking for an RV water heater, the first thing you need to do is figure out if you want to get one with or without a tank. Tankless options are more efficient and provide you with an endless supply of hot water. However, they are more expensive. So, you need to decide if the extra money is worth.

(Video) RV Water Heater Tank Replacement Pros and Cons (Atwood Suburban Truma)

If you decide to go with an option with an option with a tank you need to figure out how big a tank you need and what energy source you are going to use. Remember, the more people you bring with you, the larger the tank you will need.

Although it might seem like a lot of work to find the best RV water heater for you, it makes sense to take your time making this decision. Finding the perfect water heater will improve your quality of life while in your RV significantly.

Are you a new or experienced RV owner? Do you think you will purchase an RV water heater with or without a tank? What heating method do you prefer for your water heater? Let us know in the comments!


For more info about water heaters and propane check out some of our other articles too!
RV Water Heater Not Getting Hot Enough?
How Long Does an RV Propane Tank Last (Heat, Fridge, Water)
6 Best RV Water Pressure Regulators to Prevent RV Plumbing Leaks
8 Best Places to Buy RV Accessories and Supplies


How long does a 6 gallon RV water heater last? ›

The typical gas-powered version works by igniting a spark that ignites a small flame in a heating tube. The flame then heats up the water in a tank. You can expect a tank RV water heater to last approximately 10-15 years.

How many gallons is a RV hot water tank? ›

RV water heaters are much smaller than home heaters. A water heater for a small house is usually around 40 to 50 gallons. RV water heaters are normally just six to 10 gallons. However, whether gas or electric, the concept of heating water using a water heater is the same as your home appliance.

How many amps does a 6 gallon RV water heater use? ›

So, if you divide 1500 (watts) by 110 (volts) you end up with the maximum current the coffee pot will draw, or in this case, 1500/110 = 13.6 Amps.
Appliance Amperage Draw Chart.
Water Heater (6-gallon, heating)8-13 Amps
RV Air Conditioner (Start-up)16-18 Amps
RV Air Conditioner (Running)13-16 Amps
34 more rows

How many amps does a 10 gallon RV water heater use? ›

The Atwood RV Water Heater - Gas and Electric - Automatic Pilot - 120 Volt - 10,000 Btu - 10 Gal Tank # AT90422 consumes 1400w of power, which is roughly 11 amps.

Do you leave hot water heater on all the time in RV? ›

Just like in your home, it is safe to leave your electric powered RV water heater on all the time whether stationary or on the road. There are other downsides such as cost and environmental impact of fuel consumption – but safety should not be a concern.

Should I drain my RV water heater after each use? ›

I want to emphasize the importance of draining your water heater. I would recommend you draining it every time you're done camping if you are going to let the RV sit for more than two weeks before your next trip. I would also empty your fresh water tanks as well.

How long does 100 gallons of water last in an RV? ›

Two people boondocking can make a full 100-gallon water tank last for about four weeks, perhaps up to five… This is each person taking a shower once per week, and doing it as a “Navy-style” shower. This is using the water tank for cooking, showering, cleaning, flushing toilet, and brushing teeth.

How long does 30 gallons of water last in an RV? ›

We filll the black tank at the rate of a gallon per person per day. A 30 gal. water tank and 10 gallon black are good for about 6 days.

How many gallons of water does a shower use in an RV? ›

The amount of water used while hooked up could be around 3 to 10 gallons at a time. The amount can be controlled by the user—the longer the shower, the more water used.

Does RV water heater use a lot of electricity? ›

If your water heater runs on electric only, or propane or electric, it could use as much as 15 amps of AC (shore power or generator). If you have a higher-end motorhome your water heating may run off of a sophisticated system that uses a combination of heat sources and it could use as much as 20–40 amps of AC.

How much does a 6 gallon RV water heater cost? ›

Standard 6-gallon tank, which can cost around $400.

Can you shower with a 6 gallon water heater? ›

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. We have a 6 gallon water heater, and have found that you can shower pretty much as long as you want because the unit recycles really fast.

How much power does an RV use when plugged in? ›

The average RV requires about 30 amps of power per hour when plugged into a standard 110V outlet. This is equal to around 330 watts/hour or 3300 watts every ten hours if the RV generator isn't available.

Is 15 amps enough for RV? ›

If it is properly wired and installed by local electrical code: A 20 amp circuit will allow you to run other small appliances in your RV at the same time without blowing the circuit. A 15 amp circuit for AC use is not recommended, but it can be done if necessary.

Can a RV run on 20 amps? ›

Most RV AC's will operate on a 20A cct. As long as you have 120v and 20A it should run indefinately without any problem.

How long does it take for a RV water heater to heat? ›

RV water heaters typically take 20 minutes to heat up the water. It also depends on how many gallons of water is in it if there are 10 gallons it can take longer to heat up.

What temperature should RV hot water be? ›

If we are both taking shower, we will check the water temperature between showers and turn the water heater back on to bring back up to temperature if needed. Somewhere around 108 to 112 degrees seems to work well for us.

How much propane does a RV water heater use? ›

A camper or travel trailer with a 6-gallon Suburban RV water heater rated at 10,000 BTUs will burn through 20 pounds of propane in about 42 hours of continuous use.

How long can water sit in RV fresh water tank? ›

Two weeks is the simple answer to how long to keep fresh water in an RV tank IF you aren't using the water and refilling during that time. When water sits unused in a tank, it can become unsafe and therefore undrinkable.

How do I make my RV hot water last longer? ›

A small water heater means the hot water runs out really fast during an RV shower. One simple way to conserve your hot water and get a longer shower is to turn the hot faucet on to just a trickle. Then, add cold water to increase the pressure. Your shower water will still be plenty hot, but it will last much longer.

Does hot water come out of the top or bottom of an RV water heater? ›

Cold water comes in at the bottom and hot water comes out of the top of the heater. If your RV has a bypass valve, these two pipes will be connected directly to each other using a third pipe. The lever of the valve should point in the direction that you want the water to flow.

What uses the most water in an RV? ›

It may surprise you to learn that on average, approximately half of all water usage takes place in the bathroom. While showers and baths are an obvious source of water consumption, there is a far bigger culprit in the bathroom – the toilet.

Can I put bleach in my RV fresh water tank? ›

You'll need about a 1/4 cup of bleach for every 16 gallons of water your fresh water tank holds. Another helpful ratio for your calculator is to use one ounce of bleach for every eight gallons of freshwater. Measure the appropriate amount of bleach for your RV based on one of those ratios.

How much water does an RV toilet use per flush? ›

RV toilets, on average, use 0.8 gallons (3 liters) per flush. Although it may seem wasteful, holding down the flushing peddle for ten seconds each time is a good practice. It helps ensure the flushing process is effective, and having sufficient water in the black tank acts as an odor barrier.

How long can you leave black water in your RV tank? ›

Some RVers report that a 40-gallon black tank will last two people about 10 days before needing to dump, but again, this all depends on toilet paper usage, water usage, and the number of people using the water systems. Another technique is to always dump when your tanks are two thirds or three quarters full.

Should I leave water in my RV black tank? ›

Dump your black tank.

They think it's ok to leave the wastewater in there during the week until they have a chance to dump it. This is definitely not recommended because sitting waste will always have the potential for developing clogs, odors, and misreading sensors.

How often should you drain your RV fresh water tank? ›

Unless you are boondocking for a prolonged period of time, it's best to purge/drain and refill an RV's fresh water tank at least every two weeks. This can often be as simple as running the water in the shower or putting a secondary hose down the toilet.

How many gallons does a 15 minute shower use? ›

A study by the American Water Works Association found that, on the average, we take eight-minute showers. If you take an eight- minute shower using one of those showerheads, you will use 48 to 64 gallons of water. That 15-minute shower will use 90 to 120 gallons.

How many times can you shower in an RV? ›

The truth is you can shower in an RV for as long as you want to - with the right setup. However, in other setups, shower time needs to be limited as follows: Longtime boondocking: 2-3 minutes per shower is advised. Hooked up but no tankless water tank: 5-10 minute long shower time is reasonable.

Does RV shower water go to the GREY tank or the black tank? ›

2. Grey Water Tank. The grey tank holds the dirty water from your RV shower and the kitchen sink. Some used campers and vintage RVs may not have this tank.

How much does it cost to run a water heater for an hour? ›

For example, if you pay $1 per therm and use a heater that consumes . 205 therms per hour, for three hours per day, your totals come to about $. 62 per day, $18.70 per month and $224 per year.

Should I run my RV water heater on electric or gas? ›

Keep in mind, it generally takes longer to heat up water using the electrical element than by using LP gas. However, if you're in a pinch and need hot water in a hurry, you can safely turn on both the gas and the electric element on your water heater at the same time.

How long does it take an electric water heater to heat the water in an RV? ›

This heating element will begin to heat the water in your RV's water heater tank. An electric water heater takes approximately an hour to heat a six-gallon water heater tank and an hour and a half to heat a 10-gallon tank.

What is the cheapest way to heat an RV? ›

RV Gas and Diesel Heaters

They are the cheapest option to heat your RV (after initial installation) and they provide dry heat so you don't need to worry about condensation. Diesel heater RV is usually mounted below the front seats of the camper.

What is the best hot water heater for a camper? ›

The Best RV Tankless Water Heater on the Market Today
  • Furrion 2.4GPM Tankless RV Gas Water Heater. Furrion 2.4GPM Tankless RV Gas Water Heater with White 16.14” x 16.14” Door - FWH09A-1-A. ...
  • RecPro RV Tankless Water Heater. ...
  • Girard Tankless RV Water Heater. ...
  • Suburban On Demand RV Water Heater. ...
  • Fogatti Tankless RV Water Heater.
25 Jan 2022

Are RV tank heaters worth it? ›

As mentioned above, heaters are most helpful to a particular set of RVers. If you are camping in freezing temperatures, especially if you do so on a regular basis, then yes, you are a part of this group, and you should probably consider investing in RV tank heaters.

How much hot water does a 20 minute shower use? ›

If a standard showerhead is fitted, it will use around an extra half a gallon each minute, accounting for a 25-gallon emittance every 10 minutes, or 50 gallons throughout a 20-minute shower.

How much hot water does a 10 minute shower use? ›

A standard showerhead flows at a rate of 2.5 gallons per minute . This means that a ten-minute shower only uses 25 gallons of water.

How much hot water does a 30 minute shower use? ›

A shower uses approximately 10 gallons of hot water per shower. A dishwasher uses 6 gallons during every use, while hand washing uses 4 gallons per wash, and shaving uses 1 to 2 gallons per shave.

Is it OK to leave RV plugged in all the time? ›

Overcharging. If you leave your RV battery plugged in after it's fully charged, it can deplete the cells' electrolyte levels. This can lead to reduced battery life unless you have a newer RV converter with a three or four-stage charging process called a smart charger or if you've attached a battery tender.

What uses the most electricity in an RV? ›

Refrigerator Power Consumption

A refrigerator running on propane uses the least amount of power, but still a little bit to run the control board. A 12V refrigerator uses a bit more, but a full size residential refrigerator is by far the biggest power hog. Estimating RV power usage can be a little bit tricky.

How long can an RV run without being plugged in? ›

When the RV is not plugged in, that electricity usually has to come from batteries. Under normal use conditions – lights, propane refrigerator, charging phones etc and water pump, a 12v battery will last 2-3 days.

Can I plug my 30 amp RV into a 15 amp outlet? ›

If your RV is 30 amps, you'll require a 30a female to 15a male adapter (which tends to run around $10 to $20). A 50 amp RV, on the other hand, will need a 50a female to 30a male, which can then be connected to a 30a female to 15a male.

How many amps does a RV Fridge use? ›

5-8 Amps

Can I plug my 50 amp RV into 15 amp outlet? ›

ANSWER: Hi Bobby, Yes, with a couple of adapters, you can plug your 50 Amp Motorhome into a 15 Amp household plug. First, you will need a 50 Amp Female to 30 Amp Male adapter. Either one of the 2 adapters listed below will work for you. You will also need a 30 Amp Female to 15 Amp Male Adapter.

Can I run my RV AC all night? ›

Well, the good news is that your RV's AC was designed to run for a long time during those really hot days. In fact, as long as your rig has a consistent power source, a 50 or 30 AMP electrical hookup or the generator, then you can safely run the AC all day.

Can I run my RV air conditioner on battery power? ›

Can You Run Your RV AC Unit On Batteries? The short answer is yes. With the proper equipment and enough batteries, you can run your RV AC unit on batteries. In addition to the lithium batteries, you'll need an inverter to invert the DC battery power into AC power for most air conditioning units.

Can I plug my RV fridge into an extension cord? ›

You can simply pull out the plug, attach it to an extension cord, and then plug that into a standard wall outlet. This is also a fantastic way to plug an RV fridge into a portable power station or generator if you want to power it with electricity while boondocking.

How long of a shower can I take with a 6 gallon hot water heater? ›

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. We have a 6 gallon water heater, and have found that you can shower pretty much as long as you want because the unit recycles really fast.

Is a 6 gallon hot water heater enough? ›

But whatever the reason, a 6-gallon water heater is a popular size and works well for most homeowners. Six-gallon water heaters are small enough that they're relatively inexpensive, yet large enough that they're able to deliver plenty of hot water to meet the majority of needs.

How long should hot water last in an RV? ›

Now it's as easy as dividing the First Hour Delivery by the usage rate. For example, using the same numbers from before, we divide the 15.8 gallon First Hour Delivery by the 1.5 gallons per minute that the shower head uses, and we end up with about 10.5 minutes of hot water.

How many gallons does an RV shower use per minute? ›

The flow rate of a typical household shower is about 2.1 gallons per minute. The flow rate of a typical RV/Camper shower is about 1.5 gallons per minute.

How long of a hot shower can you take in an RV? ›

If water conservation is a priority because you're dry camping, 5 minutes or less in the shower is recommended. If you have water hookups and conserving water isn't necessary, you can technically take a shower for as long as your hot water will last. When RVing, a 10-minute shower is reasonable.

Why am I running out of hot water so fast in my RV? ›

As mentioned above, several things can cause a home's hot water supply to run out faster than it should. The three most common culprits are sediment build up, a faulty heating element and a broken dip tube.

What is the cost of a hot water heater for an RV? ›

The average RV water heater costs between $800-$1,000. A standard 10-gallon water heater will cost around $800, while a tankless water heater will cost around $1,000. It all depends on the amount of hot water you want on your RV, and how much your RV is meant to hold.

How often should you drain your hot water heater in RV? ›

Flush it out twice a year minimum

If you regularly use your RV, then we recommend you flush your tank abut four times per year. If you store your RV for the winter, then you can perform this task before you winterize your RV.

Should I run my RV water heater on gas or electric? ›

Keep in mind, it generally takes longer to heat up water using the electrical element than by using LP gas. However, if you're in a pinch and need hot water in a hurry, you can safely turn on both the gas and the electric element on your water heater at the same time.


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