Having a whole house water filter and softener combo is a great way to improve the quality of your water. These systems filter out contaminants from your tap water and reduce the hard water before it even enters the house.

Choosing the right whole house water filter and softener combo for your house depends on several factors. It’s important to keep in mind the filtration process, the water softening process, flow rate, maintenance, and price.

Each home has different requirements as water quality varies for each neighborhood in each city and state. Private well systems need something more robust than a water conditioner for instance.

Best Whole House Water Filter and Softener Combo Systems at a Glance

  1. Overall BestSpringWell Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System
  2. Best Private Well Water SystemSpringWell Well Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener
  3. CustomizableAquasana Salt-Free Softener and Whole House Water Filter
  4. Most Filtration StagesCrystal Quest SMART Whole Home Water Filter With Softener
  5. Cheapest OptionFiltersmart Whole House Water Filter & Salt-Free Water Softener Combo
  6. Best for Large HomesAquasure Signature Series Whole House Water Treatment System
  7. Best Suited for City Water Pentair Water Filter & Pelican Water Softener Alternative Combo System

Whole House Water Filter and Softener Combo Reviews

1. SpringWell Water Filter and Salt-based Softener System

SpringWell Water Filter and Salt-based Softener Combo

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This whole house water filter and softener combo are one of the best options all around. It has great filtration, a salt-based softening system, and a convenient Bluetooth head for maximum control. This filtration and convenience also come at a reasonable price compared to other offerings.

Filtration and Water Softening

This whole house water filter uses an ActivFlo four-stage water filtration process. In the first stage, the water flushes through a KDF media that removes contaminants like chlorine.

The water then flows through a catalytic carbon filter to remove volatile organic compounds and other harmful contaminants. The third stage is meant to provide more contact with the filter media to further the filtration process. Then in the fourth stage, there is a 5-micron sediment filter to remove sand, grit, and other hard particulates.

Once the house water filtration system is complete the water then passes into the Springwell salt-based water softener. The ion exchange water softener captures hard water in the resin bed. This highly concentrated salt brine, containing minerals will be flushed out of the system.

This entire process thoroughly purifies and softens any city water. It does not purify private well water. The entire whole house water filter and softener combo requires electricity to operate and some water is wasted in the process.

Flow Rate and Maintenance

The flow rate of this whole house water filter and softener combo is about 9 GPM. This means it should be sufficient for a home with 1 to 3 bathrooms. This entirely depends on usage and the quality of the water entering the house water filter system.

Maintenance is a consideration given this is a salt-based softener. You should ass new salt once or twice a month depending on use. You will also need to swap out the sediment filters every 6 to 9 months.

There is a Bluetooth head built into the system to allow users to customize the regeneration and filtration times. This provides hands-free control and can potentially improve performance or minimize how often maintenance must be performed. The default setting sees the system regenerating every 14 days depending on use.

Price and Warranty

With this whole house water filter softener combo, you have also the option to buy a UV filter that will cost extra.

The product comes with a lifetime warranty on the tanks and valves which is one of the better warranties we reviewed. There is a 6-month money-back guarantee for those that change their mind after using it.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • 4-stage filtration process removes most contaminants.
  • Salt-based water softener eradicates hard water.
  • The average flow rate makes it sufficient for most homes.
  • Bluetooth head improves control and convenience.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty and 6-months money back.
Cons
  • Requires monthly additions of salt to operate correctly.
  • Not meant for private well water.
  • Sediment is removed at the end of filtration instead of at the beginning like most systems.
  • Requires electricity to operate.
  • It does waste water in the backwash filtration process.

2. SpringWell Well Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener

SpringWell Well Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener Combo

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For users who need to purify and soften private well water, this filter softener combo is the best choice. It has a great warranty, Bluetooth convenience, and many optional features. It can even be installed by the user making it perfect for DIY enthusiasts.

Filtration and Water Softening

This whole house water filter uses a SpringWell AIO system to eliminate several contaminants. It’s best suited for removing iron, manganese, and sulfur. It does this by maintaining a pocket of air at the top of the tank. This air oxidizes these contaminants making them easier to trap in the green sand fusion bed.

Once isolated it works like other whole house water filters to backwash the contaminants out of the tank. This does require the product to have electricity, and a drain, and will waste a bit of water each cycle.

Once the water has been filtered it functions like most other salt-based softeners. Using ion-exchange the water’s hard minerals are trapped inside the resin in the tank. Once enough is collected in the water softener brine tank it flushes it out leaving soft water behind.

It should be important to note that filtration is meant for contaminants commonly found in well water. It may not be suited for contaminants found in city water like chlorine or other chemicals.

Flow Rate and Maintenance

This whole house water filter softener combination has a flow rate of 11 GPM. this should be sufficient for the average home with 1 to 3 bathrooms. Of course, this depends on the amount of water used and how contaminated the source water is.

Users should keep in mind that salt-based water softeners require more maintenance than Futuresoft salt-free systems. Salt will have to be replenished every few weeks to ensure the system has enough to soften the water.

The product comes with a Bluetooth head that can be used to customize and track the entire filtration and softening process. Users can determine how often the system regenerates and receive notifications when salt levels are low. These settings can all be changed from the comfort of the user’s smartphone.

Price and Warranty

This whole house water filter and softener is the most expensive of the whole house water filters we reviewed.

This price can further increase if the user decides to buy the optional UV filter and reverse osmosis drinking system.

The product comes with a 6-month guarantee. Afterward, there’s a lifetime warranty on the tanks and valves which is one of the best we reviewed.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • The only well water filtration system on the list.
  • Removes Iron, Manganese, and Sulfur.
  • Eliminates hard water using a salt-based system.
  • Is sufficient for 1 to 3 bathrooms.
  • Has a Bluetooth head to monitor and customize the filtration and softening process.
  • Has a 6-month guarantee and lifetime warranty.
  • Can be installed by the user.
Cons
  • Is not suited for city water filtration.
  • The backwash system wastes water and requires electricity.
  • Is the most expensive option on the list.

3. Aquasana Rhino Salt-Free Softener and Whole House Water Filter

Aquasana Whole House

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This whole house water filter is unique for the added features and benefits it has over competitors. It has a UV filter, pre and post sediment filters, and a great warranty. It does require more maintenance than its competitors, but for some users what it offers may be worth the added hassle.

Filtration and Water Softening

This whole house water filter uses a 5-stage process to remove contaminants and soften the water. The water first enters a pre-sediment filter to remove dirt and other debris that can clog the filters. Then the water enters the salt-free water softener.

Here the water is conditioned by crystalizing minerals to prevent them from building up in the lines or on surfaces. In the third stage, water enters the Rhino Filter. Here Copper-zinc and mineral stones are used to remove chlorine and heavy metals.

There is also activated carbon that deals with herbicides, volatile organic compounds, and more. The water is then passed through a post-filter meant to capture and remaining sediment.

Once everything has been thoroughly filtered it passes through the UV filter. Here UV rays are used to sterilize the water removing viruses, bacteria, and other similar contaminants.

This product is one of the many salt-free water softeners on the list. This means that the hard water isn’t removed, it’s conditioned or treated.

For some users, this is sufficient as it neutralizes minerals and prevents them from creating build-up. For users who want to completely remove these minerals, they’ll want to get a salt-based system.

Flow Rate and Maintenance

Given the many filtration steps and tanks, it’s not surprising that the flow rate is lower than other products. The Rhino has a flow rate of 7 GPM making it one of the lowest on the list. Realistically this should be sufficient for 1 to 2 bathrooms.

These multi-step filters also serve to create some maintenance concerns as well. The pre-filter must be replaced every two months as it clogs with sediment. The post-filter will need to be swapped out every six months.

The UV lamp must also be replaced every 12 months or so. Then the salt-free conditioner every 6 years, and the replacement filter tank every 10 years.

Forgetting any one of these components can lead to diminished water quality and put a strain on the whole house water filter.

Price and Warranty

This whole house water filter is surprisingly cost-effective given there’s an included UV filter which often costs $1,000 extra than other products.

There is a 90-day back guarantee for buyers who change their minds or aren’t satisfied. Unlike most whole house water filters this one comes with a 10-year limited warranty on nearly every component.

Considering the max estimated lifespan of any one component is the replacement filter tank, that’s a good deal.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Is the only whole house water filter to include a UV filter.
  • Has pre and post sediment filters to ensure no particulates get in.
  • Uses a salt-free water softener.
  • Eliminates a wider range of contaminants compared to other whole house water filters.
  • Comes with a 90-day back guarantee and a 10-year limited warranty.
  • Very cost-effective for what is offered.
Cons
  • Has a low flow rate compared to other water softeners.
  • Does not eliminate hard water, only conditions it.
  • Many components need to be replaced on an annual basis.

4. Crystal Quest SMART Whole Home Water Filter With Softener

Crystal Quest SMART Whole House Water Filter and Softener Combo

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This whole house water filter has 6 stages of filtration to ensure high water quality. It has many unique filtration methods and accomplishes this without sacrificing water pressure. The tradeoff is a seeming lack of warranty and a higher price tag, but for some, it may be worth it.

Filtration and Water Softening

The 6-stage filtration starts with a sediment pre-filter to remove sand, grit, and other particulates. Afterward, it enters a catalytic granulated activated carbon filter to remove things like herbicides and chlorine. Then the Eagle Redox Alloys 6500 and 9500 remove heavy metals.

A separate ion exchange resin triggers to further remove contaminants like heavy metals. Then the water passes along ceramic and tourmaline balls to improve water quality and maintain alkaline pH levels.

Then finally the water exits through a post-filtration carbon cartridge to remove any stubborn contaminants that may have made it through.

Once the water has cleared the house water filter system it enters the Crystal Quest water softener. This salt-based softener will replace heavy metal ions with sodium ions making it softer. The minerals are then flushed from the system through the brine tank.

This does require the system to be attached to electricity and have a drain for the water that’s flushed.

Flow Rate and Maintenance

Even though the system has a 6-stage filtration process it doesn’t hinder water flow much. This product can sustain 9 to 11 GPM. This is more than sufficient for a house with 1 to 3 bathrooms.

Maintenance is also relatively mild as most of the system utilizes internal filter media and other mechanics that are only replaced every few years. Users need to replace the sediment pre-filter every month or two. The post-filter will need to be exchanged every 6 months or so.

Price and Warranty

Buyers can get this whole house water filter and softener combo for und $3k. This isn’t the most expensive product on the list, but it is above average.

Interestingly the website doesn’t mention any money-back guarantees or warranties of any kind. It’s possible the company does offer them, but contacting a representative is likely required to obtain this information.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • 6-stage water filtration ensures quality water.
  • Can balance and maintain alkaline pH levels.
  • Has great water pressure for a 6-stage system.
  • Has a normal level of maintenance for an advanced system.
Cons
  • Will waste water and use electricity when softening the water.
  • Above average price for a water filter and softener combo.
  • No listed warranties or money-back guarantees.

5. Filtersmart Whole House Water Filter & Salt-Free Water Softener Combo

Filtersmart Whole House Water Filter

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This water filter and softener combo is the cheapest on our list. Like other salt-free water softeners, it’s great for homes that need minimal conditioning. This may not have the best water flow rate, but it comes with a great warranty and is easily the most affordable.

Filtration and Water Softening

The first tank uses a natural coconut shell carbon to purify the water. This will remove chlorine, volatile organic compounds, synthetic organic compounds, and other contaminants from the water supply.

There isn’t a sediment pre-filter and there is no filtration system for heavy metals. This is ideally suited for urban homes with common city contaminants. Those needing a well water filter will have to look elsewhere.

After passing through the house filter tank the water enters the salt-free softener. Like many salt-free water softeners, this water softener doesn’t waste any water or use electricity to operate. It works to crystalize the hard minerals.

For some users, this water softener system is preferable as naturally occurring minerals in water can be beneficial. But it works to prevent annoying build-up and scale that comes from these minerals.

Flow Rate and Maintenance

This whole house water filter softener combo does lack a little in terms of water flow. It maintains a 7 GPM water flow rate for the house. This is enough for 1 to 2 bathrooms depending on usage. Those with more bathrooms might want to consider one of the other water softener and filter systems.

The lack of a sediment pre-filter does mean there is less maintenance. The filtration tank should do fine for up to 5 years or 1,000,000 gallons before you will need to replace it. The water softener tank doesn’t need any maintenance either as it doesn’t use salt.

The entire whole house water filter and softener system are basically set and forget it. This also means that it’s fairly easy to connect to the water supply making installation a breeze.

Price and Warranty

The main selling point of this water softener and filter product is the price. It is easily the cheapest product we reviewed by far. Granted this does require compromising on the water filter and softener capabilities. But for some homes, this may be all that’s needed.

This house filter comes with a great warranty for the price. The tanks and valves come with a lifetime warranty. Users should rest assured that the product will work as intended for five years and be covered in the event it doesn’t.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Easy to install as it only uses two tanks.
  • Great for city water that needs a little extra filtration.
  • Minerals aren’t removed from the water and salt isn’t added.
  • One of the least maintenance-intensive water softeners on the list.
  • It is the cheapest option reviewed.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty.
Cons
  • Not suited for well water or heavily contaminated areas.
  • The water softener does not remove hard water.
  • Has a lower than usual flow rate.

6. Aquasure Signature Series Whole House Water Treatment System

Aquasure Water Filter and Water Softener Combo

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This whole house water filter and softener combo are ideal for large houses with multiple bathrooms. It has a great flow rate, a convenient digital head, and washable sediment filters. It may not have the best warranty, but it is a solid product.

Filtration and Water Softening

The filtered water is accomplished through a 4-stage process. The water supply first enters a sediment filter to remove dirt, sand, and other large particles. This prevents the rest of the system from getting clogged and keeps water pressure higher.

After particulates are removed the water enters a tank holding granulated activated carbon and kinetic degradation fluxion media. The GAC removes chlorine and volatile organic contaminants. The KDF is meant to help remove chlorine and prevent algae and bacteria from growing.

The filtered water then enters the water softener. This water softener uses salt to remove water hardness and prevent scale buildup. It uses a backwash system to drain the hard water leaving soft water in its place.

Then once the water supply has passed through both the whole house water filter and water softener it enters the under sink filter. The under-sink filter uses reverse osmosis to remove contaminants like fluoride, arsenic, lead, and bacteria. This system is installed separately from the tanks that are located at the point of entry for the house.

For users that have well water, there is a Fine Mesh upgrade that can be obtained. It does cost more, but it makes the product able to handle the harsher contaminants found in well water like hard metals.

Flow Rate and Maintenance

The flow rate for this water filter and softener combo is fantastic. It has a high enough GPM to support 4 to 6 bathrooms. This is the highest of those we reviewed and great for larger homes the others might not handle well.

There is a bit of maintenance involved with both the water filter and water softener. The sediment filter can be washed and reused which cuts down on cost. This can be done about three times before it’ll need to be replaced. This means users can go 6 to 9 months before replacing this filter.

There is also a digital head that can be used to track and control the entire system. This is great for knowing when to replace the filters and control the regeneration cycles.

Users should keep in mind this is a bulkier system with larger than usual tanks. There is also the under-the-sink component that isn’t present in other water filter and softener combo products we reviewed.

Price and Warranty

This water filter and softener combo cost less than average for products like this. It’s also a good deal considering this comes with the additional under the sink filter.

The whole house water filter softener combo has a 2-year extended warranty. This is low compared to most of the other options. It is also only available if the user registers their product.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Has a unique under-the-sink water filter.
  • Can buy an optional Fine Mesh upgrade for well water.
  • The highest flow rate of those we reviewed.
  • The digital head makes monitoring and maintenance easy.
  • More affordable than similar items.
  • Washable and reusable filters save money.
Cons
  • A water softener uses salt and wastes water.
  • More cumbersome to install than most water filters.
  • The 2-year extended warranty requires registering the product.

7. Pentair Water Filter & Pelican Water Softener Alternative Combo System

Pentair Water Filter and Pelican Water Softener Combo

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This water filter and softener combo is a great product. However, it just doesn’t stack up well. It is also quite expensive for what it offers. It requires a professional to install it.

Filtration and Water Softening

The water filter starts with a 5-micron prefilter to remove sediment and other particulates. The water then flows into the filter tank where chlorine is removed. The product listing does not state that it removes other particulates in the filtration process. This makes it solely suited for city water affected solely by chlorine.

Once the water is filtered it enters the water softener tank. It’s a salt-free softener so there is no wasted water or electricity to function. The hard water is conditioned to prevent it from sticking to surfaces. This prevents build-up and makes the water softer while still retaining the minerals. The manufacturer recommends getting a hard water test to see if this product will work for your situation.

Again it’s important to reiterate the product does not state that it removes things like pesticides, heavy metals, volatile organic contaminants, or chemicals other than chlorine. It’s important to thoroughly test your water supply to see if this product is sufficient for your needs.

Flow Rate and Maintenance

The Pentair water filter and softener combo is sufficient for 1 to 3 bathrooms. This makes it fairly standard and sufficient for most homes depending on water use.

This water softener is also low maintenance as the filter is not a cartridge filter. Like other salt-free water softeners, there is nothing that needs to be replenished or replaced. The only thing that will require the user’s attention is the prefilter that needs to be replaced every month or so.

Price and Warranty

This filter and water softener combo is rather expensive for what’s offered. It is the second most expensive option we reviewed. This is high for only filtering chlorine and a water softener that only conditions the water. Other filters and water softeners offer more for less.

The warranty also isn’t anything special. It’s a one-year limited warranty on most of the components.

It’s important to note that this warranty is only available if the water softener is installed by a professional. For DIYers, it’s probably best to go with other water softeners and filters.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • The water softener uses a salt-free system.
  • Very low maintenance.
Cons
  • Only seems to filter chlorine and sediment.
  • The water softener doesn’t remove hard water.
  • It’s the second most expensive option we reviewed.
  • Requires a professional installation to get a 1-year limited warranty.

Buying Guide

How to Choose a Whole House Water Filter and Softening Combo System

The first step is to determine what you need to be filtered and how much hard water is in your water supply. To determine both you’ll need to do a water test. This can be done with a kit by the homeowner or a professional can be hired to do a more thorough test.

Once this is done it will reveal the level and number of contaminants present in the water. It also shows how much hard water is present. Generally speaking, city water is less contaminated and hard than well water.

Once this is determined the next step is to determine how much water your household uses. Contacting your water supplier, reading your water meter, or reading your water bill will show usage.

Generally speaking, if you have two bathrooms you’ll want about 9 to 10 GPM.

With this information, you can choose the right water filter and water softener for your situation.

How Does a Whole House Water Softener and Filter Work?

A water filter has a variety of methods for filtering water. Most have a sediment filter that catches particulates around 5 microns in size. This will be dirt, sand, grit, and other hard objects that plug up your system.

Its also common to have an activated carbon filter for removing chlorine, pesticides, and other chemicals. In many cases, this is all you need when dealing with city water.

For well water, you want something that can remove things like magnesium, calcium, and sulfur. Heavy metals are also a common issue. This is less common and users have to find specific products.

There are also things like UV filters for removing bacteria and viruses. Other variations for different contaminants are mineral stones, copper-zinc media, ceramic and tourmaline balls, and granulated coconut shells.

For water softening, there are generally two types of water softeners, those that use salt and those that don’t. A salt-based water softener is required to completely remove hard water and prevent minerals from entering the house. This is best for areas with high hard water content.

This adds sodium to the water which may be an issue for some. It also requires a system that’s connected to electricity and a drain to empty the brine tanks. This generally is more expensive and requires routinely adding salt to the tanks once a month.

A salt-free water softener simply prevents the minerals in the water from being able to stick to surfaces. They are still present, but no longer create build-up. Some users prefer this if they want the minerals in their water or don’t like the slippery feel that comes from a salt-based water softener. These water softeners require next to no maintenance. They also don’t use electricity and won’t waste water as a salt-based system would.

What Are the Benefits of a Water Filter & Softener Combo?

The obvious benefit is that it’s a contained system that works together. Sediment filters prevent the water softener from getting clogged with particulates for instance.

It also ensures that they work together and won’t have any conflict with different systems. All the maintenance is also contained in a single system.

It can also be a way to bring down costs. Buying a water filter and softener combo is generally cheaper than buying them separately. The warranties will also cover both products typically.

A few products use Bluetooth or digital heads. These can track water pressure levels, contaminants, salt content, and other things to make monitoring and maintaining the system easier. Buying them separately causes the user to keep track of two separate systems.

Do I Need a Water Softener If I Have a Whole Home Filter?

Generally speaking, a water softener isn’t needed with a whole home filter. Water softness is often a matter of personal preference, some like the feel of soft water, and others like the feel of hard water. Many whole home filters don’t come with a water softener for this reason.

Typically water softeners play no role in water filtration to remove contaminants.

Your piping, faucets, and appliances will last longer with a water softener. Removing or neutralizing the hard water minerals will prevent build-up and blockage. This can serve to keep water pressure high and uninterrupted.

FAQs

Should the Water Softener Go Before or After the Filter?

Water softeners should always come after the filters. The reason is that nearly all filters remove chlorine from the water supply. Chlorine can wreak havoc on the resin that nearly all water softeners use. This can prevent the product from working properly and hard water will enter the house.

What Is the Best Order to Install One of these Systems?

order of water whole house filter and softener combos

Most water filter and softener combos come with several different tanks and components. Generally speaking, this is the proper order for any whole house water system.

  1. Pre-sediment filter
  2. Main filtration system
  3. Water Softener
  4. Post-filter
  5. UV filter
  6. Under-the-sink filter

It’s important to do it in this order for several reasons. First, the sediment filters prevent the rest of the product from getting clogged by dirt, grit, and other objects.

The main filtration removes chlorine and other chemicals that can prevent the water softener from working properly.

The post-filter simply ensures that anything that’s made it this far is removed. It can also sometimes catch larger salt crystals.

The UV filter works better if particulates and most contaminants are removed first.

Then the under-the-sink filter comes last as it’s the last stop before water leaves the faucet.

How Much Does a Whole House Water Filter and Softener System Cost?

It entirely depends on how much filtration you want, the kind of water softening that occurs, and how much GPM you need. A basic chlorine filter and salt-less water softener with no other perks will be just under $1,000.

A multi-stage filtration system with pre and post sediment filters, a UV filter, and a salt-based water softener is more in the $3,000 range.

Monthly costs also depend on the type of system used. You need to replace cartridge filters every few months and swap out sediment filters almost monthly. Salt-based water softeners need monthly additions of salt. They also use electricity and dump a bit of water each cycle.

It’s best to do a water test, identify exactly what you need, and then get an affordable system to deal with those issues. If your water doesn’t have any heavy metals then having a more expensive well water system doesn’t make any sense.

What Is the Difference Between Well Water and City Water?

Well water is naturally occurring water that comes up from the ground. City water or public water is processed and pumped to a person’s house. Each has its pros and cons and requires a different whole house water filter and softener combos to deal with them.

Well water rarely contains any added chemicals that are found in city water. This can be anything from chlorine to fluoride. The tradeoff is that it can contain heavy metals, volatile organic contaminants, and other harsh or dangerous substances. Many well water systems have grit and other particulates.

City water rarely has heavy metals or bacteria as it’s often treated by a plant. The downside is that these plants often use chemicals to treat the water which introduces synthetic contaminants.

Generally speaking, the difference between well water and city water is that well water requires more filtration than city water does. So well water users will have to spend a little more and have a more advanced filtration system. City users can often get away with a more basic system that costs less. Again, it pays to do a water test to know for sure what needs to be removed or dealt with.

About the Author

Paul Morton

Founder and Editor

Paul is a retired plumber who now spends hours on home improvement projects. From fixing toilets to leaking pipes in crawls spaces, there is nothing Paul can't do or wouldn't try. Paul was running his own plumbing company and is our expert in regard to all types of water filtration systems.

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