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Four Steps To Killing Mold Without Bleach After A Water Damage Incident

Posted by on Apr 19, 2017 in Uncategorized |

A mold problem caused by water damage can be quite a nightmare to clean up. Although many homeowners’ first instinct at the sight of mold is to douse it with bleach, bleach is actually only useful for killing things on a flat and non-porous surface. If you have mold growing on a wooden wall, the bleach will only kill the parts of the mold that are on the outside of the wall and will not extend into the wall to kill the roots of the mold. As you can imagine, this just allows mold to grow back from the roots as soon as is conveniently possible. Here are four steps to using alternative killing methods that don’t rely on bleach to take care of the mold for you. 1. Scrub it off with soap and water. The first step to mold cleanup is always to remove the surface mold that’s visible. You should lightly mist the moldy patches with water before starting because working with dry mold just encourages spores to disperse throughout the air, which can cause health problems and create more mold colonies elsewhere in the house. Once you’ve misted the area, use a dish-soap-and-water solution or a detergent-and-water solution to scrub the area. If it’s a sensitive surface (for example, if you’re worried about damaging the finish of a piece of wood furniture), test your cleaning solution on a small area in an unnoticeable corner before undertaking this step. 2. Use vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Spraying straight vinegar onto the surface can kill not only surface mold but also mold beneath the surface of the porous material. The same can be said of hydrogen peroxide, which is also likely to be even more reliable at killing a variety of mold species. Either of these can be sprayed on at full concentration or mixed half-and-half with water. Be sure to test the solution before using it to ensure that it won’t harm the surface. Then spray the surface thoroughly, carefully wiping up any runoff afterwards before it soaks into the floor. You should allow it to sit for a while so the solution can get down to the mold’s roots, and then you can wipe it off with a damp cloth. 3. Use climate control to reduce re-occurrence of mold. Reducing the humidity and dampness in the area is essential. If the mold occurred in the kitchen under the sink, using moisture absorbers and a small fan to help circulate air and control humidity can be helpful. If the mold is in the basement, you may need a larger electric dehumidifier, and if your entire house is damp, you may need multiple dehumidifiers. In this case, you may also have a drainage problem that needs to be taken care of. 4. Put on a mold prevention coating Several mold prevention coatings are available on the market today. Many of them simply block mold’s roots from taking hold, and some are quite safe to use in households with children (although you should still store them where children can’t reach them). Use one of these to prevent a re-occurrence of mold in the previously moldy areas, and spray it in any other damp corners as well to forestall any problems there. These four steps will help you solve your mold problem naturally, without bleach, in...

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Is It Time To Go Back To The Tank?

Posted by on Apr 7, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Tankless water heaters have become very popular due to their image as a power-conserving, water-conserving modern invention that will last longer than old, rusty tanks. In some respects, tankless water heaters really are good; they do conserve power, and they do last longer than your typical tank-style water heater. However, there are advantages to having a tank-style heater as well, and if you’ve been having issues with a tankless heater, it might be time to switch back or use a combination. Too Much Demand, Not Enough Water Tankless heaters heat water on the spot, and they’re very efficient at doing so. However, if a lot of people are trying to draw hot water at the same time, the water could rush through the tankless heater faster than the heater can heat it. The result is lukewarm or cool water instead of very warm or hot water. Tank-style heaters hold many gallons of hot water in reserve, so when people try to turn on lots of fixtures, they can all get hot water, and incoming water in the heater has a chance to warm up, too. If you have a lot of demand for water, switching back to a tank-style heater could be a better solution. Another option is to install a tank for general use in the house and use the tankless for one or two dedicated areas, such as laundry. No Reserve Water One big advantage to having a tank-style water heater is that the water inside can serve as emergency water. You need to keep the tank in good shape and flush it on schedule, but remember that this water ends up coming out of your sink faucets, so it is potable. Even if you feel too squeamish to have water directly from the water heater tank, you can use it to help fill toilet tanks in an emergency, for example, instead of using your bottled water for that. Tankless heaters offer no such advantage. Water Flow Activation One quirk of tankless heaters is that sometimes they require a certain amount of water flow to activate the heating function. So if you have super-low-flow faucets, you might not end up with any hot water because the flow rate just isn’t high enough to trigger the heater. You don’t have that problem with tank-style heaters. Installing a tank-style heater as a replacement for a tankless heater is not a DIY job, so contact a water heater installation company like Towers Murray Plumbing to get the job done. Newer tanks are very well insulated, so power usage should be...

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Need To Build A Bridge On Your Agricultural Property? Factors To Consider

Posted by on Mar 24, 2017 in Uncategorized |

If you have recently purchased a large plot of agricultural or ranch land that has yet to be developed properly, you may be simultaneously thrilled and nervous about everything that you have to do. If you have any large rivers or streams that cut through your property, though, one of your first priorities will likely need to be to build a bridge over that waterway to give yourself better access to your lands and maneuverability around your property. There are many factors to consider when you are thinking about having a bridge built. Get to know some of those factors to consider so you can be sure you are making the best possible decision for you and your new property. Consider What Kind of Traffic Will Be Going Over The Bridge One of the biggest factors to consider when you are planning to build a bridge on your property is the type of traffic that will be going over the bridge. For example, if you simply need a foot bridge so that, when you are walking your property, you can easily get across the stream or river, then you may be able to fell timber on your property and build a log bridge relatively easily. However, if you need a bridge for livestock to cross in large numbers, to take agricultural equipment over, or simply to drive your personal vehicles over, you will need a bridge that can better handle heavier loads and more traffic. Think long and hard about your current and future needs for the bridge or bridges you are going to build so you can properly build a bridge capable of accommodating your needs. Have an Engineer Come Out And Survey The Planned Bridge Location While you may have an idea of exactly where on the waterway and on your property you want your bridge to be located, you will need a civil engineer to come out and determine if that location is a good choice for your bridge. There are many different important factors that go into determining a bridge location. The stability of the shoreline, the composition of the soil, and the function of the bridge are all important factors to consider. Sometimes, there may be a better location for your bridge that you may not have thought of that the engineer can suggest to you. Your engineer will also give you an idea of what it will take to make your proposed bridge work. You may need to have a drilling and blasting company come out to widen the area or to remove undesirable rock beds along the river or stream, for example. Having an engineer on-site to walk you through the bridge building process and oversee the project as it gets underway is an important part of getting the project completed well. These factors will help you to know what will go into building a bridge on your property and how you want to approach the process going...

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What to Expect When You Get a Home Energy Audit

Posted by on Mar 24, 2017 in Uncategorized |

If your power bills are higher than your friends or neighbors, yet you still feel too hot or too cold in your home, then your house probably isn’t very energy efficient. If you live in an older home, it could have single pane windows and inadequate insulation. Before you spend a lot of money on upgrades, it’s best to have an energy audit so you know exactly what needs to be done. Here are some of the things that are examined during the audit. Power Bills & Lifestyle The first thing the auditor will do is examine your lifestyle and look at things like how many people live in your home, the thermostat and hot water heater settings, how often you use the washer and dishwasher, and whether you have a pool. Next, he or she examines your power bill to see how much energy you consume. You’ll want to gather bills over several months so the auditor can see your energy consumption during various seasons of the year. Physical Examination Next, the auditor makes a complete physical examination of your home. On the exterior, he or she looks for gaps and cracks that allow air to leak into or out of your home. The auditor checks the roof and type of windows you have. The inside is examined thoroughly for amount and type of insulation, age of appliances, state of the electrical system, and the condition of HVAC including ducts. The auditor examines every room of your home noting location of windows and finding areas of leaking or energy inefficiency. He or she may even examine the attic or crawlspace for a close inspection of the insulation in the home and to further check for air leaks. Sophisticated Testing A company that does energy audits on homes also uses sophisticated testing to determine problems with energy loss. One of those tests involves an infrared scanner. The auditor scans your home with this instrument and it picks up on temperature differences. When there is a cool spot or hot spot, it indicates air is leaking in from the outside. This test is an excellent way to find hidden air leaks and to find areas that don’t have enough insulation to control the temperature in your home. Another test is the blower door test. The auditor places a huge fan in your exterior door to do this test. The fan pulls air out of your house and this causes a pressure drop that pulls in outside air through areas that are leaking. To find where the air is rushing in, the auditor may use smoke and watch where the smoke goes, or this test may be done in conjunction with an infrared scanner to make the leaks easier to spot. After all these tests are completed, the auditor provides you with an energy assessment of your home and can guide you on the changes that need to be made. This helps you spend money where it will do the most good. You may need to add insulation to the attic and between the walls, upgrade your windows, or seal cracks around the exterior. You’ll also receive recommendations for saving energy such as the best settings for your HVAC and water heater. Although you’ll have to pay for the home energy...

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Things To Consider When Planning To Build A Screened-In Porch

Posted by on Mar 16, 2017 in Uncategorized |

If you have decided that a screened-in porch would be the perfect addition to your home, you will want to make sure that you are carefully reviewing the following points. This way, you will have a better chance at ending up with a quality screened-in porch that you will be able to enjoy for many years. Carefully Consider The Placement Of The Door When you are building a screened-in porch, you will need a door that opens up to the yard. It is important to be careful with the placement of this door. If you place it too close to the door of the house, you might find that when both are opened at the same time, the flow of foot traffic is interrupted. You do not want to find yourself having to make sure one door remains closed so you can open the other door. Both doors should be able to be opened at the same time without any issues. Remember That Not All Screen Material Is The Same Quality You might want to refrain from using the hand stretched screen material because it can be hard to work with. It can also bend and break easily, which means you will find yourself needing to replace portions of it sooner than you might like. Instead, you will want to consider using fiberglass screens since they do not crease and they last a lot longer. Consider Your Electrical Needs If you are going to spend a lot of time on your screened-in porch, you might want to think about having some additional electrical outlets installed. This way, you will be able to easily plug in fans, televisions, lights, cellular phone charger, or anything else that you may want out on the porch with you. Since rain can still blow into the screened-in porch, you will want to make sure that you are hiring a professional electrician for the installation of outdoor outlets. Think About The Type Of Ceiling You Want This is an important decision to make because the style you pick will determine the feel of the porch once it is complete. For example, a flat ceiling may make the screened-in porch feel a little more like an interior room. If you want more of an outdoor and open feel, then you might want to opt for the cathedral ceiling. Once you are ready to start with the creation of your screened-in porch, you will want to start talking to professional porch builders in order to find the best one for the...

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Steps to Help You Remedy a Clogged Sewer Line

Posted by on Mar 10, 2017 in Uncategorized |

As a homeowner, it is your own responsibility to repair and replace any sewer problems in your home’s sewer system, including the sewer main running beneath the soil to the city’s sewer line connection in the street. Here are some steps to help you solve and resolve what is causing a sewer clog and important details, such as getting the proper construction permits, to help you be successful with the repair. Hire an Inspection When you first encounter drains and toilets that flow slowly in your home, it can indicate a clog further down in your home’s main sewer line. In a situation where one or two drains are flowing slower, it can usually be caused from a blockage directly in the pipe connected to that drain. When sewer begins bubbling up from basement drains, it is important to hire a professional plumber to determine where the clog is.  Your plumbing professional can use a camera to inspect the interior of your sewer line to find where the blockage is. This can also help you determine if the clogged sewer line has been caused by debris in the line, invading tree roots, or a crumbling or collapsing sewer pipe. Many plumbers have a GPS on their camera so they can determine where along your sewer main’s length the blockage is located, which can be helpful in digging up and repairing the sewer pipe, when necessary. Remove Line Clogs While the plumbing professional is completing your line inspection, they can use their snake or high-pressure water sprayer to remove the debris in the line that is causing your blockage. When your sewer pipe is still in good condition, clearing the blockage and cleaning any build-up on the inside of your sewer line can allow your sewer to flow freely from your home. Often, the debris and waste water from rinsing dishes in your kitchen can cause oils and fats to coat the interior of your sewer line and slowly cause blockages.  When tree root growth within your sewer line is causing the blockage, simply clearing them from the line will not solve the problem. The tree roots will regrow inside your sewer line and can cause the pipe to break apart or collapse. You may consider removing the trees from your yard, which will stop the tree root growth. Keep in mind you may need a construction permit to remove a tree, so check with your local building office to find out. Using a sodium chloride treatment in your sewer line is a good way to stop the tree root growth without killing the tree, as long as you repeat the treatment every six months. Complete this treatment by pouring one-half pound of sodium chloride into your toilet and flushing it down. Repeat this until you have flushed down two pounds of sodium chloride, then do not flush your toilets or run any water down your home’s drains for twelve hours. This allows the sodium chloride time to remain in the sewer line to kill tree roots. Replace Sewer Line When you have determined your sewer line has begun to collapse, crumble apart, or show other signs of failure, you will need to have the sewer line replaced as soon as possible. Your plumber can discuss your options to replace...

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When You Can’t Get Into Your Business: How A Professional Locksmith Will Help

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Uncategorized |

If you run a business and you lose your keys to the building, you may be surprised at how secure your building is. When you aren’t able to get into the building to find a spare set of keys, or you don’t have an employee who carries a spare, you may have to call an emergency locksmith to help you get into your commercial space. Once you have lost your keys, it’s impossible to know if they’ve been stolen. You’ll have to invest in changing out the locks to your building or rekeying any locks within. Talk with your locksmith about your options, as you may not have to replace everything. When You Can’t Get Into Your Business A professional locksmith will first get you into the building to help you figure out if you simply left your keys on a counter or in your office. If this is the case, then you won’t have to worry about changing any locks throughout the building. If your keys are secure, it is clear that your business is not at risk. If you don’t have any spare keys made, now is the time to get a few copies made and kept in a safe place that is not within the business itself. If Your Keys are Stolen If you believe the keys to your business have been stolen, it is vital to change out all of your locks immediately. Consider all the various keys on your set, and change everything that you have keys for. To help save a little money, ask the locksmith if some of the locks can simply be rekeyed. It’s possible that your entire lock won’t have to be changed, but instead the locking mechanism within can be changed to work with a different key.  Make an Extra Set of Your New Keys Once you replace your existing keys with new ones, make one extra set and put them in a safe place. Number any master keys, and make sure you keep track of any staff that might need to hold a master key. When you know that keys to your business have been stolen, it may also help to change any codes that you use for security purposes and change out any combination locks you may have with a new one. While this may be excessive, it is worth the small investment of your time and money to make sure that your business is secure. For more information, talk to a professional like Security...

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Vinyl Siding In The Winter: How To Keep It Clean And Clear Of Snow And Ice

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Snow and ice have a major impact on vinyl siding in winter. They collect on the siding and make it very heavy. The snow and ice can also collect underneath the edges of the siding and cause damage behind the siding. Your best bet to protect the siding and your house from winter damages is to clear snow and ice whenever you can. Here are some helpful hints on how to do just that. When It Snows, Brush the Snow Away Light snows are easily brushed away with a broom. You will notice that you have one side on your house that regularly collects snow, while the others may be fairly snow-free. (Usually, this is the northern or western side of the house, because that is how snowstorms travel.) If you are able take a straw broom outside and brush this snow away once every hour or whenever the snow finally stops falling. This reduces the accumulation of snow that can melt, stick, settle and freeze over on your siding. Got Ice Already? Break out the Pressure Washer and/or Rubbing Alcohol If it is not especially cold out, but you have ice accumulated on your siding already, break out your pressure washer. Make sure it is filled with boiling hot water. This will crack and melt the ice on the siding, and the ice should easily slough off and fall to the ground. If you do not have a pressure washer, break out several bottles of rubbing alcohol, which will have a very similar effect on the ice. After all of the ice is off of the siding, see if you can hand-dry the siding or use a hairdryer to blow-dry it. Because the vinyl siding will conduct the heat from the dryer, it will prevent any immediate re-accumulation of ice. Cover Your House in Plastic Sheeting Yes, it looks strange, but if you have one or more sides of your home that struggles with the snow and ice every year, the plastic sheeting really works. Use the same stuff people use to seal off and insulate windows, but apply it to the siding. If you are already going to put it over your windows, do not cut to fit the windows. Instead, apply it to the entire side of the house there. If you need to, apply it to the whole house. When spring arrives, you can easily remove the plastic sheeting and your vinyl and siding underlay will be doing quite well. If your siding is already damaged and needs replacing, make sure to get in touch with a company like Superior...

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Need to Clean Your Chain-Link Fence? Here’s How to Do It

Posted by on Nov 9, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Durable, long-lasting, and inexpensive, chain-link fences have become a popular option for many homeowners in need of a good fencing solution. If you want your chain-link fence to look as good as the day you had it installed, it pays to keep it clean. Otherwise, dirt and debris can accumulate on the fence as time goes on, robbing your fence of its original luster. A lot of people think chain-link fences are hard to clean, but that’s simply not true. The following offers an in-depth guide on how to clean your chain-link fence and safeguard it against rust and corrosion. Pre-Cleaning Prepwork Before you get started, it’s a good idea to run an ordinary household broom over the sections of fence to be cleaned. Doing this will knock leaves and other debris out of the links and get rid of excess dust. A quick brush with your broom can also knock down those annoying spider webs before you start washing in earnest. If the fence is caked in dirt and debris, then you’ll want to do a “pre-rinse” using your garden hose and a hand sprayer set on its high-pressure jet setting. Spend a few minutes knocking away caked-on dirt, grass clippings, and even rust fragments, if you happen to spot any. If you have a pressure washer, you can skip this step and use that instead. To protect your hands against cuts and scrapes, you’ll want to wear rubber gloves as you clean your fence. Washing by Hand To wash your chain-link fence by hand, fill a bucket with warm water and add several drops of mild detergent. Mix the water and detergent thoroughly until you begin seeing suds. You can also use a cleaning solution that includes rust inhibitors. At this point, you’ll want to pick a small section of fence to work on. Next, dip a soft-bristle brush into the solution and scrub it onto the fence. Start from the top of the fence and scrub it back and forth in a horizontal motion as you work toward the bottom of the fence. After you’re finished cleaning your chosen section, use your garden hose to rinse the suds off the fence. When you’re finished, you may see some areas that look like they could use a second round of cleaning. Don’t be afraid to go over these areas again with the soap and brush. Washing with a Pressure Washer Pressure washing offers a fast and effective way of cleaning your chain-link fence. If you own one, you can use it instead of washing your fence by hand. Start by filling your pressure-washer tank with a mix of your preferred mild cleaner and warm water. Hold the pressure-washer wand at least three to four feet away from the fence and spray back and forth in a quick fanning motion. Make sure you’re using moderate pressure when spraying. This should be enough to knock loose most dirt and debris. If necessary, you can turn up the water pressure to remove stubborn debris. Taking Care of Rust? If you see rust spots, you’ll want to get rid of these before you finish cleaning your chain-link fence. Start by knocking rust flakes loose with your pressure washer or hand sprayer. Next, grab some steel wool and use it to lightly...

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Five Tips for Designing a Better Small Horse Barn

Posted by on Sep 22, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Most every horse owner dreams of having their own 40-stall barn with foaling stalls, heat, and a shower in the tack room. But in reality, budget and space constraints mean most horse owners have to settle for something a bit smaller. With careful planning and the right design, your four- or six-stall barn can be as an enjoyable as a luxury breeding stable. Here are five tips for designing a better small horse barn. Always include extra stalls. If you currently have two horses, plan for a four-stall barn. If you think four will be your limit, build six stalls. There are almost certain to be times where you need to house a friend’s horse for a week while she’s between boarding stables, take in a rescue you feel sorry for, or keep the neighbor’s pony while their barn is under construction. If you don’t have enough stalls available for these last-minute add-ons, your barn will feel small and limiting. With the extra stalls, you’ll have more pride in your barn because you know it’s set up to handle whatever horses life may bring to you. You can always use the spare stalls to store wheelbarrows or extra tack in the meantime. Build storage into your tack room. The tack room often turns into the gathering place where the humans hang out and chat. Visitors will understand that stalls and aisles get dirty, but it’s an unspoken rule in the equestrian community that the tack room must be tidy. If your tack room is just an empty space, you’ll be forced to rely on folding saddle racks and big, clumsy tack trunks for storage. So, have wall-mounted saddle racks, bridle racks, and plenty of shelves built into your tack-room walls. The matching look will make fellow equestrians who visit your barn swoon. Make sure there’s adequate ventilation. Horses kept in well-ventilated barns have fewer health issues, including respiratory problems and skin conditions. When you have several horses kept in a smaller barn, the barn tends to get stuffy and humid if it’s not specifically designed to vent properly. Not only is this bad for the horses, but it can really cause those urine smells to intensify in the summer. Make sure the team that’s designing your barn includes a good roof ventilation system. Eave and peak roof ventilation works well throughout the seasons. Make sure your design also includes several large doors so you can open them and let the breeze flow through when weather permits. Consider creating hay storage in a separate building. Storing hay in the same barn as your horses tends to create messes, especially when your barn is small and the hay storage is almost forced to be right near the stalls and tack room. Designing the barn so it’s easy to get in and stack large quantities of hay is also a challenge. Your barn will stay a lot neater if you build a separate shed for hay storage. Use a wheelbarrow to bring the hay over for each feeding, or store just a few bales at a time in a spare stall. Include personalized details whenever possible. This barn might be small, but it’s yours — and that’s something to be proud of! Including some personalized details in the design will make it feel...

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Tips On Choosing And Using The Right Plunger For Your Sink Drain Clog

Posted by on Aug 2, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If your kitchen sink has stopped allowing water to flow through the drain, then it’s time to start thinking about clog removal solutions. Hot water, vinegar, and baking soda can all be used to try to resolve the plumbing problem. However, when these materials will not move the clog, then it is time to reach for the plunger. While most people own plungers and use them regularly, individuals rarely know how to use them correctly or even which ones should be used. Keep reading to learn about a few tips to help you plunge away a drain clog effectively and quickly. Use The Right Tool Before you start plunging your sink, you should make sure that you have the right tool. There are several different kinds of plungers that can be purchased, but there are only two types that can be used on a sink. These types include force cup and common sink plungers. Force cup plungers are typically used for toilets, but they can be used for sinks as well. The plungers have a closed bell shape along the bottom with a cup or flap in the middle of the bell. This flap fits into a toilet drain opening, or it can be bent into a sink drain. The cup will not create a seal around the drain though, and this means that it may not be as effective as a common plunger. A common plunger is the tool that is made for kitchen sinks, and this device is the type of plunger with an open bell end. If you do not have a common plunger, then make sure to purchase one at your local home store. To keep your stainless steel or porcelain sinks from becoming marred, make sure the tool is made from a non-marking rubber. Non-marking rubber is a synthetic rubber that is more dense than natural rubber. This helps to keep the rubber from wearing off onto your sink. However, when a denser material is used, the plunger will be less flexible. This can interfere with the movement of the head. When looking at plungers, try to bend the bell of the plunger. Purchase the one that is the most flexible. Not only will this assist with plunging motions, but the rubber end will be less likely to crack. A plunger with a plastic or stainless steel handle is best as well. The paint that covers a wooden-handled one will chip off over time, which can cause a splinter to embed in your hand. Use The Plunger Correctly Once you have the right plunger, place the middle of the plunger bell directly over the top of the clogged drain opening. Look at the water level in the sink and make sure it sits about an inch or two above the plunger bell. Plungers work by creating a vacuum seal around the plumbing drain, and water is needed to create the vacuum. Add water to the sink if there is not enough to cover the plunger head.  Once the plunger is positioned and the water level is ready, tip the plunger to the side slightly to let air out of the bell. If air is left in the cup of the plunger, then it will compress as the tool is moved downward. The compressed air will absorb some of the pressure that is...

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