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Don’t Call a Roofer for a Leaky Chimney!

Your leaky chimney may appear like a leaky roof or a plumbing issue. When water comes into the home by way of the chimney system it can move through the house through walls, floors, and ceilings. The water flows to a low point where it pools before forming a leak. This may appear to a homeowner like a leaky pipe in an upper story bathroom, or like the roof has sprung a leak. This is not the case! If you have a leak in your home or any water damage for that matter, then it is most likely a chimney issue–NOT a roof issue.

Red roof house with chimney at the end of a rainbow

The Chimney Professionals

A general contractor is a licensed professional who oversees construction. In order to do this, he works together with other trade professionals. For instance, a contractor might contact a chimney professional during construction in order to have a chimney built properly and up-to-code. He might hire a roofer to make sure the roof is built and materials installed properly. This is standard, and it ensures that all parts of construction are made to specifications and will work properly and last. Like roofers, certified chimney sweeps are the experts in their field. When it comes to chimney construction, diagnostics, and repairs, the chimney experts are who to call when there’s a sign of a leak.

Chimney leaks can cause extreme damage to the masonry and chimney system. In fact, water can cause:

  • Rusted parts
  • Deteriorated assemblies and central heating system
  • Water stains and water damage on furniture and home
  • Rotting wood and interior of a home
  • Masonry stains
  • Cracked, deteriorated masonry
  • Collapsed hearth support
  • Chimney settlement

This type of damage caused by water in the chimney can be expensive to repair, and chimney leaks are almost 100 percent preventable. Schedule annual maintenance, including routine chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections. In between these important appointments, there are things that you can do including getting to know your system, using it properly, and paying attention to how it works.

Signs of a Chimney Leak

Any staining on the brick indicates a leak. White staining on the masonry exterior means water is passing through the brick and leaving behind minerals on the surface. In the firebox or the interior portions of a chimney may appear darker in color due to prolonged dripping.

Odors of mildew, mold, or must means there is a leak that has been present long enough for bacteria to grow. Additionally, sounds of dripping, even if you cannot see it, means there is a problem. There shouldn’t be water in the chimney!

Any leak in the home where a chimney is present is most likely caused by a chimney leak. Water enters by way of the chimney and then runs through the house inside walls, ceilings, and floors. This leak may occur behind the scenes for days or weeks before it pools in a low area and eventually forms a leak.

Your chimney system may not seem affected during the off season, but a noticeable change in efficiency while the fire is burning is an indication of a problem, possibly a leak. The easiest way to find out is to call a professional and have it inspected. Hudson Chimney diagnoses leaky chimneys and doesn’t just repair the damage, but fixes the problem. This may include installing a new cap, flashing, crown, and waterproofing the masonry.

Professional Measures of Prevention

You can call a roofer when you have a chimney leak. The odds are that the leak is caused from flashing–the most common cause of a chimney leak. Although many roofers may claim to install flashing, it is not their specialty. It is our specialty!

Chimney Leak Diagnostics

When you have a chimney leak, call us. We check out the area, assess the damage, and repair it all. When we install flashing, our experts place the sheets of metal according to the slant and material of the roof, with no nails visible, and without the need to cover with sealant. If you have recently had your roof replaced, and your flashing has exposed nails, is missing, covered in tar, or has been dislodged it’s time to call a chimney expert.

Call Hudson Chimney

Hudson Chimney repairs flashing. We do not just fix the damage from your leaky chimney. We correct the problem at its source!
Hudson will install and repair flashing, caps, crowns, and even waterproof the masonry itself for good measure.

Call the chimney professionals at 904-282-4159 or contact online.

Schedule Your Annual Chimney Inspection Now

This is the best time to get your annual chimney inspection to ensure a problem-free spring and summer. After a long winter of fires, there may be winter damage, water damage, and inefficiencies because of dirty and damaged parts in your chimney. However, no matter how well your chimney and fireplace worked all winter, it won’t continue to work well if it’s not given proper maintenance. The best way is to schedule your annual inspection.

Inspections Prevent Dirty Chimneys &
Catch Hazards

After a full season of burning fires, your may find that your chimney flue is full of soot and creosote or even debris from animals or weather. Soot is a carbon residue released when your burn fires inside your fireplace. Creosote happens when you burn organic fuel. When these substances are not cleaned out on a regular basis, they can build up in the system. This can lead to numerous problems such as a drop in efficiency, obstruction of airflow, or even a dangerous fire hazard.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) agree that chimney systems that are inspected regularly are safer. When your chimney is inspected, your technician will catch hazards big and small. This also brings down the risk of accidental residential fires–saving your lives and property.

Three Levels of Thoroughness

When you schedule your chimney inspection, we can help you determine which level of inspection your chimney needs too. We offer three levels of inspections, and the condition of your system determines which level your chimney needs.

  • Level One – This is required annually when your chimney has been used in the same way and no changes have been made. Level one inspection is a visual assessment of the interior and exterior. Our expert techs examine the readily accessible portions as well as connections and appliance. At the end of this appointment, your chimney will have a clean bill of health.
  • Level Two – This level is required before the sale or transfer of property, when any changes are made to the system, or when there has been a problem that affects the chimney. This inspection includes a Chim-Scan camera footage of the interior.
  • Level Three – The most thorough inspection is required when serious hazards are suspected. This inspection require limited demolition to gain access to the suspected hazards. The chimney crown or interior wall may need to be removed, and then replaced following inspection.

As we come into the off-season, it’s important to schedule an inspection with a professional. Trust Hudson Chimney with your Chimney Inspection. We’re licensed, certified, and we are ready to serve you.

Call 904-282-4159 today to ensure your system is ready for the rainy spring days. If you neglect this important appointment, you could put your home and family in danger. A damaged chimney also allow animals and wildlife in, and it may not be safe to use once fall returns.

We Repair and Replace Chimney Liners

Your chimney is important. It may be the largest system in your home. It changes the air pressure, can allow or stop drafts, adds heat and ambiance to your favorite spaces, and can even affect your breathable air. Your chimney is important to you, and it’s important to us too. Chimney professionals know the ins and outs of chimney science. We know things that homeowners don’t know, and we use that knowledge to prevent devastating fires and accidents. We want to help your chimney be the safest and most efficient system possible, and we do this by offering services and repairs that are absolutely essential. Liner replacement and repair is one service that is essential for chimney life and safety.

Your Chimney Liner

One of the most common problems with old chimneys has to do with the chimney liner. Liners may be clay, ceramic, or metal, and older liners may become damaged without you ever knowing. Although hidden from view, the liner is one of the most important parts of the chimney system. Like human skin, it covers a lot of area and is extremely durable because it is an important barrier. The liner should keep your fire, heat, and gases inside the chimney. Without a liner, toxic gases such as carbon monoxide can escape and poison your family. Carbon monoxide can cause permanent organ injury and even death. A cracked or damaged liner can also allow high temperatures to affect beams and other structural materials in your house. You might notice that your masonry is extremely hot to the touch, which is a liner problem. You may also notice pieces of ceramic or clay tile in the fireplace. This is also a sign of a damaged liner. Once a problem is recognized, it needs to be addressed before you use your fireplace again. Discontinue use and have the liner repaired by a professional. 

Reasons to Replace a Liner

If the damage to your liner is extensive, it may need a full relining. Other reasons your liner may need to be completely replaced include: 

-There is no liner in the chimney

-The liner is an old and badly damaged clay tile liner

-You are switching fuels and the current liner is not safe for use with your new fuel

-The flue needs to be resized to match the capacity of a new fire appliance. 

At Hudson Chimney we can help you determine whether your liner needs a quick repair or a full replacement. We install stainless steel liners which are long-lasting and safe for all fuel types, and we also design and install custom liners in all sizes, shapes, and designs. Bring your old chimney up to new standards. Your chimney will work better and safer when you trust Hudson Chimney. 

If you know you have a liner problem, contact Hudson Chimney to price your new liner or repair. Call us at 904-282-4159 today.

We Carry Energy Top Dampers & Clean Out Doors

The chimney is as long-lasting as your house itself, which is why you may have a historical home with old parts and components. Over the years, advancements in chimney science and technology have resulted in new products that bring up the efficiency of your old chimney. At Hudson Chimney we revitalize old chimneys and improve efficiency and function by installing energy top dampers and clean-out doors

Energy Top Dampers

Named for their energy saving capabilities, the energy top damper is also called the top mount damper. It is a damper that is installed on the top of the chimney instead of the traditional metal dampers which are installed in the throat of the chimney. Many homeowners like to replace a throat damper with the new energy top dampers in order to start reaping benefits right away. 

Airtight seal – The energy top damper is equipped with an airtight seal that prevents air, moisture, and animals or insects from entering. 

Chimney cap – Energy top dampers double as a chimney cap, keeping animals, water, and wind out even when it’s open. 

Ease of use – With a handle that reaches to the hearth, it’s easy to engage and disengage the damper from indoors. 

Durable – Made of stainless steel and aluminum, the energy top damper doesn’t rust or corrode. It is long-lasting and unaffected by soot and creosote which may cake the interior of the flue. 

Pre-set – The damper remains open by default for maximum safety and always opens to the perfect pre-set height. 

Once your energy top damper is installed, you will start reaping the benefits right away. The new damper will save you money year-round, preventing heated air loss through winter, and conditioned air loss throughout the off-season. With this new addition, you can save up to 75 percent on heating and cooling costs. 

Chimney Clean-Out Doors

The clean-out doors are the “back door” to the chimney which allows for easier access to the flue and chimney for cleaning. Not only does a new clean-out door make your chimney more accessible, but will also help you notice and diagnose chimney problems. You may not see evidence of chimney damage in your stove or fireplace, but when you find fragments of clay tiles or mortar in your clean-out door, you know there is a problem. Your clean-out door makes the flue more accessible to you, the homeowner, but also offers another route to the chimney professional who may come and clean or repair your chimney system. 

Whether you’re replacing a damaged damper or looking to improve efficiency or value, we have what you’re looking for. At Hudson Chimney we use our experience and expertise to bring safety and efficiency to our customers’ homes and lives. 

Call and speak with a chimney expert at 904-282-4159.

Trust Us With Your Firebox Repair or Rebuilds

The chimney system is made up of many chambers, assemblies, units or appliances, and connections, and many refractory materials hold the heat in through all these parts and spaces. The firebox is the space which endures the most abuse and is often paid the least attention. The firebox is the fireplace itself–the space that holds the fire and endures the most heat for the longest periods of time. In order to do the job correctly and safely, the firebox should be constructed specifically for this workload, and maintained regularly.

Damage to the FireboxTrust us for Firebox repairs and rebuilds

If the firebox becomes damaged, it can mean life or death. Your home is made up of wood beneath wall coverings and floors and ceilings. Behind your firebox is some type of building material, and it’s most likely flammable. Even beams and walls with proper clearance can become brittle and weak when exposed to high temperatures over a fair amount of time. This puts your home at risk for fire as well as structural damage. Basically, if your firebox is damaged, have it repaired right away. Have it serviced on a regular basis to prevent serious damage. Call in the professionals. If you don’t schedule services with chimney professionals on a routine basis, you will have a very unexpected visit from the fire protection district in your city, and it will be about saving your life and your home when a little damage turns to disaster.

Common Firebox Damage

As often as you look into your fireplace to light a fire, you should notice damage to the firebox. The most common cause of firebox damage is water damage, but there are other causes, preventable and treatable.
Water Damage – Signs of water damage in the firebox include stains on the masonry, cracks or gaps in the masonry, vegetation growth, rusted doors, and metal components, and odors in the fireplace that indicate moisture, mold, and mildew.
Improper Installation/Construction – When the firebox isn’t constructed of proper refractory materials strong enough to withstand the extreme temperature of your fire, the masonry will become cracked and gaps will appear. You may even find pieces of mortar on the floor of the firebox. Smoke stains on the walls of the firebox may also be a construction issue, or from the fuel you’re burning. Be sure you’re only burning properly seasoned firewood in your fireplace.
Debris in the Fireplace – If your cap is dislodged, the firebox can be damaged by falling debris or even animals nesting in the system. They can scratch up the chimney interior, damaging masonry and leaving flammable materials behind.
Basically, any sign that your system isn’t working properly means your next call should be to a certified chimney professional. Only the professionals can properly repair and rebuild a firebox to bring comfort and safety back to your home.

Jacksonville’s Trusted Experts

For more than 30 years, Jacksonville homeowners have trusted Hudson Chimney with their homes. We specialize in masonry, and our masons use firebricks and refractory mortar to get the job done right. Your firebox will be safe for use, whether you use your fire daily or only periodically.

Call Hudson Chimney at 904-282-4159 and have your firebox assessed and repaired now.

We Can Also Clean Your Dryer Vent

Dryer vents cause house fires. In fact, according to FEMA , 2,900 house fires occur each year due to clothes dryers, causing 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. These numbers can be scary, and even more so when you realize when these fires occur–and why. Most clothes dryer fires occur in winter, peaking in January, and the majority of them are caused from dirty dryer vents.

100 Percent PreventableWe Can Also Clean Your Dryer Vent - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

When it comes to clothes dryer fires, they are preventable. When the majority of these fires are caused by dirty vents, the prevention is obvious–clean the dryer vents. This is where we come in. A company like Hudson Chimney, which specializes in venting services including dryer vent services, can clean dryer vents annually to prevent dangerous buildup. Spending a little money now can prevent catastrophic costs and injuries later.

What a Dryer Vent Service Includes

Your dryer vent services will start with a diagnostic check. Many dryer vents are improperly installed, violating fire safety codes and causing your clothes dryers to be overworked, wearing them out and using extra utilities. When you schedule dryer vent services we’ll check out the installation, making sure the vent isn’t too long and doesn’t have too many angles. We’ll also make sure the dryer vent is venting outdoors and has a backdraft flap preventing airflow from wind gusts and air pressure. During the visit, we will also check for leaks that can slow airflow and add to build up. Our technicians will detach the vent from the dryer and clean lint out of the vent or hose with soft brushes and a high powered vacuuming system. This will clean out the system without damaging the vent itself.

Signs You Need a Dryer Vent Cleaning

Your dryer vent most likely needs to be cleaned if your clothes dryer isn’t working properly. Most homeowners mistakenly assume the clothes dryer is just fine, but wearing out. This is generally not the case.

–The dryer takes more than one cycle to dry a load of clothes.

According to manufacturers, the dryer should last ten years. If it fails to dry clothes in one cycle and is less than 5 years old, the dryer vent is likely clogged. Not only does running multiple cycles add to the clog, but it also uses 2 to 3 times more electricity, and shortens its life by 2 to 3 times! That means a unit that should last 10 years only lasts 3-5 instead. This is not only dangerous, but a bad investment.
–The dryer puts heat and moisture into the home.

When your dryer runs, it heats the house, or puts moisture into the air. This may be nice in winter–seemingly helping with heating costs–but it is dangerous. Most clothes dryer fires occur in January! This is not the time to allow a dryer to run dangerously in your home. It the dryer heats or puts moisture in the home, it means this heat and moisture isn’t being properly vented outdoors. This means there is a clog.

The time to schedule dryer services is as soon as you notice a problem with the dryer function. Call a professional who can assess and correct the situation before a dangerous accident occurs.

Schedule dryer vent cleaning or installation with Hudson Chimney today.

Schedule Your Chimney Service Now!

Now is the perfect time to schedule your chimney services to add safety and value to your fireplace experience this winter. You should not use a chimney or fireplace that has not been serviced in the last 12 months. Using it can result in serious damage, and it can cause a loss of value, property, injury, and even death. However, to get the most out of your fireplace, you need to schedule your annual chimney services!

Routine Maintenance

masonry chimney with blue skyThe most important services to complete annually for your chimney is your chimney sweeping and inspection. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) both agree that chimney systems need to be routinely cleaned and inspected. This keeps them running smoothly and more efficiently.

  • Chimney Sweeping – When you schedule a chimney sweep with Hudson Chimney, you can count on a mess-free and professional experience. A certified professional will tarp off the area to prevent a mess, and they use brushes, rods, and a high-powered vacuum system to clean away all soot and creosote. Then they also inspect the exterior of the system. If there is a major issue with your chimney, we’ll know. We document our findings and present it to you, including photos and video footage, if necessary.
  • Chimney Inspection – When you schedule a chimney inspection with Hudson, and you can count us. Our professionals will thoroughly inspect the interior and exterior of the system. They will check for all readily accessible portions and accessible portions, and they will even remove components if necessary to access the hazards. There are three levels of inspection, this allow us to search and inspect what is necessary without wasting time, resources, and money. If you schedule a level one inspection or a level two, and a level three is necessary, we will discuss options with you. Our goal is safety and function for your home and family, and we will do whatever it takes!

Preventative Care

However, sometimes even when you do all the necessary routine maintenance for your chimney system, things can still happen to cause damages. For example, high winds can dislodge your flashing, a flue fire can crack a liner or masonry, or seismic activity can shift masonry, cause gaps, or more.

Even minor cracks can become serious gaps and voids after a season of winter weather. You should avoid unnecessary damages by scheduling preventative measures now.

  • Waterproofing – We treat chimneys with a waterproofing agent that protects your masonry all season long, year-after-year, is vapor-permeable. It doesn’t affect the way your masonry look either!
  • Repairs – In addition to preventative services, repairs are essential for preventing winter damage. As soon as you notice a problem, or get a report of damage from your inspector, a repair should be scheduled. We repair parts and masonry to keep your family safe.

Contact Hudson Chimney today so that your fire is safe and warm all winter long. Call 904-282-4159 or contact us online.

How to Season and Store Firewood

At this time of year, it may be difficult to find firewood when you need it. Why? Because many suppliers have been selling out their supply for months and any wood you cut now will not be good for burning. In order for your fireplace, stove, or insert to work properly, you must burn only properly seasoned firewood. This means your wood should be cut many months before burning, and stored until winter.

Can You Burn Fresh Wood? firewood
Yes. You CAN burn freshly cut wood. If your family is freezing, and the only wood you have to burn is freshly cut, it will burn. It will be difficult to light, will not reach a high temperature, will burn incompletely, produce more smoke than heat, and will put more creosote in your chimney than necessary. To reach the desired temperature, a homeowner may use three times more wood than you would with properly seasoned firewood. This wastes fuel and damages your system.

Properly Seasoned Wood
Your firewood was once a live tree which stored and used water in order to live. When it’s cut, it likely has a water content higher than 75 percent. When you burn this “green” or “wet” wood, it has to first evaporate the water before burning the fuel (wood). Think about it like this: you’re camping in the rain and attempting to light a fire. Would you use wood that has been soaked with rainwater, or would you dig through brush and grasses to find dryer pieces? Firewood is the same. The best-burning wood is cut and allowed to dry for 3-6 months before being burned. This ensures a water content of less than 35 percent.

DIY Seasoned Firewood.
First, find a good supply of the type of tree you’d like to harvest. Harder species of wood burn differently than softer ones, but all will burn well when properly-seasoned.
Next, cut the tree down, and cut it to the desired length. Letting the wood sit like this will allow water to drain and evaporate from the ends faster than letting a felled tree dry. Letting the whole tree sit will likely result in a rotted tree, not seasoned firewood.
Finally, store the firewood until you need it. If you wait to split your firewood until it’s dry, it will be easier to split and lighter to carry.

Buying Firewood
It may be that you do not have a good source for firewood on your land. You can still have a wood fire by purchasing seasoned firewood from a local supplier. When searching for a supplier, look for wood that is cut and stacked in piles that look seasoned. It is seasoned firewood if it is gray in color, light in weight, has cracks along edges, and the bark pulls away from the flesh. Don’t pay too much for a cord or rank of wood. Make sure you understand what these terms mean, and how much you should be paying.

How to Store Your Supply
Whether you’re storing bought or self-cut wood, use an open pile, a tarp, or a shed. The only mistake you can make storing firewood is enclosing it tightly to prevent airflow. Air and light are necessary to season the firewood properly.

Hudson Chimney can help you determine if your fireplace problems are from improper wood. We may even be able to help you find a supplier. Contact Hudson Chimney today for help at 904-282-4159.

We Can Clean Your Dryer Vent!

At Hudson Chimney, we take your safety seriously. Fire safety goes further than just your fireplace and furnace. It’s also important to maintain your clothes dryer vents. Clean dryer vents prevent fires, improve function, and save you money.

Signs You Need Dryer Service

laundry room If your clothes dryer was not installed professionally, it’s likely not working at its maximum efficiency. Only a professional knows the ins and outs of fire safety codes, both federal and local. They will certainly know about the safety of your vents. Many homeowners mistakenly assume a store delivery is an installation. This is not true, and it will put your family at risk. If you haven’t had your vent professionally cleaned or installed, call now and schedule these services. Other signs maybe present because of normal wear-and-tear, but these issues actually needs your attention.

  1. The dryer warms up the house. If your dryer causes your house to warm up or is hot to the touch, the heat isn’t being carried outside as it should. This may cause your clothes to be excessively hot.
  2. Moisture and lint cover surfaces in the laundry room. Moisture, lint, and heat should all be carried out of the house through the dryer vents. However, if there is a clog, the lint and moisture enters the air and affect the breathable air to damage wall coverings and furniture.
  3. It takes more than one cycle to dry a load of clothes. Manufacturers say new clothes dryers should last about ten years. If yours requires more than one cycle and less than three years old, it has clogged vents.

Wasted Money, Dangerous Hazard

A clogged vent presents a hazard every single day your dryer is in use, and it also wastes money! When your dryer takes 2-3 cycles to dry properly, it costs you 2-3 times more electricity and shortens the life of the dryer by 3-5 years. By assuming the dryer is worn out, homeowners use the dryer every day as if it’s fine, which put your home and family at risk. Instead, you should have your dryer installed professionally, in compliance with safety codes, and professionally serviced annually.

At Hudson Chimney, we’re committed to offering dryer vent services to protect families, businesses, and the environment in our service area. We check your vent for leaks, make sure the outlet is back-draft protected, and use a high-powered vacuuming system to remove all lints and debris from your system.

For more information visit www.dryersafety.org or call a professional at Hudson Chimney–where we don’t just service chimneys, but dryer vents and more. Not sure we have what you’re looking for? Call for more information at 904-282-4159.

Have You Heard Water Dripping in Your Fireplace?

Chimney leaks are a common problem and something we often see at Hudson Chimney. Tropical storm weather and frequent rains can lead to chimney leaks that lead to serious chimney damage. Water can wreck a chimney in no time, and must be detected and repaired as soon as possible, so dripping in the chimney system is a serious issue.

Signs of a Chimney LeakWater Dripping In Your Fireplace

Dripping in the chimney system is only one sign of a chimney leak. It may be one of the first signs of a leak that a homeowner recognizes. Usually visible or obvious signs aren’t detected until major damage has occurred behind the scenes, and that’s because they aren’t sure what the signs are.

Dripping

If your chimney system has a dripping sound or visible dripping, there is a drip inside, probably causing water to pool on the smoke shelf, damaging interior parts, and allowing mold and mildew to grow.

Stains

Green and dark green staining on the fireplace interior is a sign of a prolonged leak. Rust stains on the chimney exterior, near the top, is a sign of a leak that is causing the cap or chase to leak. White stains on the exterior (efflorescence) is a sign that water is moving through the masonry and leaving deposits on the outside of the masonry.

Odors

If odors are present in the system, there is most likely water inside. This may be mildew or moldy odors, or even the smell of barbecue (which also indicates a dirty chimney).

Leaks

 

Even if there are leaks in other areas of the house, the problem is usually the chimney. Water moves through the chimney, travels through walls, ceilings, and floors, and then pools at a low point before forming a leak. If your house has a leak, don’t call the contractor! Call a chimney professional.

What Water Does

If you notice dripping or other signs of chimney leaks, you must call a professional right away. Water damage can cause deterioration, structural damage, rusted and damaged parts, water damage to the rest of the home, and even leaning and crumbling of the system. It is not just a situation where the risk of fire is higher, but also that the structure itself can become dangerous.

If chimney leaks are not repaired as soon as they’re detected, then your system can take on more damage during tropical storm season as well as winter. A professional should correct the problem right away, whether it’s replacing the cap, crown, flashing, or repairing the masonry. An amateur or general contractor may repair the water damage, but a chimney professional will fix the problem at the source. A Hudson Chimney sweep will leave your chimney in the best shape–probably better than it’s been since you’ve owned your home–and help it last a lifetime.

Call Hudson Chimney for all your chimney care in Jacksonville, Florida area today at 904-282-4159.

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