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Balancing Chemical Equations

There is no one best place to start when balancing a chemical equation, but the following suggestions might be helpful: (1) Look for elements that appear in only one place on each side of the equation (in only one reactant and in only one product), and balance those elements first. (2) If free, uncombined elements appear on either side, balance them last. Notice how these suggestions worked in the procedures illustrated in this section. Above all, remember that we should never change subscripts in formulas, because doing so would describe different substances. We only adjust the coefficients to balance the equation.