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Thread: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

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    Hurricane Gio's Avatar
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    Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    Like the tittle says, do solar covers really heat up you water? How much of a ride in degrees can I expect?

    I am looking at getting one until we put in a solar heating system in a few years. I need to wait a while as we hit our budget with the pool and all the re landscaping.

    Thanks
    8,000 Gal, 11 x 26.8ft Shotcrete Pool with "Cool Blue" Diamond Brite by ESSIG Pools with Artistic Pavers Deck
    Goldine AQL-PLUS w/Aqua Pod, Aqua-Rite T-CELL-15 SWG, Pentair WhisperFlo High Performance 1.5HP, 2 speed pump, Pentair IntelliBrite,
    Pentair 100sqft Cartridge Filter, 6 Pool returns, Skimmer and 2 Anti-Vortex Main Drains
    Pool's completed build 2/2010

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    Welcome to TFP

    search is your best bet as this topic has been discussed multiple times, but IMHO they work far better as an overnight or cool weather insulator vs actually heating your water.

    I use mine overnight or on cool overcast days to keep the warmth in, while my solar panel and dark liner warm the water during the sunny days.
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

    Pool School, TFTestKits, Pool Calculator

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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    In my experience (used a solar cover for the past 5 summers), the cover doesn't really add heat to the water. Where it makes a huge difference is at night, it keeps the water from loosing as much heat. So yes, I think it's worth it, but don't confuse this for a heating option. It's more about minimizing heat loss at night or on a windy day.

    I don't have a heater, but everything I've read says that all heaters are more effective with a solar cover in use as well (again helping in retaining heat).

    They aren't very expensive (relatively I guess), you should definitely try one.

    Good luck!
    28K IG Vinyl lined pool - 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    Hayward DE 60sqft filter; Polaris 280 vacuum with booster pump

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    Hurricane Gio's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    thanks guys.

    yeah I know...search is you friend. I will search more before asking a ton of questions that I will have as a pool newbie
    8,000 Gal, 11 x 26.8ft Shotcrete Pool with "Cool Blue" Diamond Brite by ESSIG Pools with Artistic Pavers Deck
    Goldine AQL-PLUS w/Aqua Pod, Aqua-Rite T-CELL-15 SWG, Pentair WhisperFlo High Performance 1.5HP, 2 speed pump, Pentair IntelliBrite,
    Pentair 100sqft Cartridge Filter, 6 Pool returns, Skimmer and 2 Anti-Vortex Main Drains
    Pool's completed build 2/2010

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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    Where I live a cover is mandatory if you install any type of electric or gas heater on your pool. As others have said - it mostly retains heat.
    25' x 13' Roman, 12000 gal IGP, Plaster, with 500 gal Spa
    SWG, 1 HP Max Flo Pump, C-900 cartridge filter
    Solar heat

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    no-mas's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    To be certain, though; the net result of consecutive days of heat retention is a substantially warmer pool than you would otherwise have had.
    18k gal inground, everbrite finish, 505 sq ft; 1.5 hp two speed whisperflow; rheem 5100ti 100k btu heat pump; 3 sheer descent falls; DE filter; swg (cell out and using trichlor for now)

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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    My experience this year so far...solar cover has been on since middle of March.

    My pool is 10 degrees warmer than my next door neighbor's! Our pools have the same unrestricted sun during the day and they're the same size. It's working GREAT to retain the heat gained during the day. I don't take the cover off during the day unless we're swimming (which my son has been doing since Sat, Apr 3.)
    20K gal IG vinyl 18'x36' rectangle, 2' radius corners
    Hayward Goldline Aqua Rite 40K SWG, Pentair Intelliflow VS 3050,
    Sta-Rite Cristal-Flo 24" Sand filter, Model T-240BP-1, Polaris 280 Auto Cleaner
    Sunstar solar panels (438 sq ft ), Pentair Sun Touch Controller automating solar panels, SWG, and Polaris
    TF-100 test kit

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    iggy's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    In Arizona with the dust and stuff blowing the solar pool cover does 2 things.
    Keep the dust and crud out of the pool and keeps the water temp up during the night so it is warmer in the morning.
    At present I have a cheap blue one and i'm entering my 3rd swim season.
    I usually leave it on most of the winter to keep the leaves out. I still have it on at this moment but the water temp is getting close to 75 and I plan on removing itt soon.
    If you have a SWG it may build up salt deposits on top and will decrease life expectancy.

    Also be aware that solar pool covers come in different thicknesses and the color is one way to tell what it is.
    The thicknesses are
    4 mil (blue in color) which is garbage and will fall apart in a year
    8 mil (blue in color) which will last 1-2 years
    12 mil (clear in color) is better and should last 3-4 or more years
    16 mil (clear in color) is the best and most duriable Garantee usually is 5 to 10 yrs It also may have a layer to silver.

    The clear will heat the pool during the day better than the blue because it lets the sun heat penitrate better. Anyway thats what I was told.

    This should give you an idea of the cost of a basic small solar cover
    12' x 24' rectangles start at $70 and run up to about $120 for the best 16 mil one.

    Anyone find any great deals on a 16 mil clear covers please let me know cause that is my next buy.
    In-Ground SWG pool 11,000 gal., Jandy CL460 Filter, 1.5hp Stealth Jandy pump, Paramount PV3 In-Floor cleaning sys., Goldline SWG, Hayward Color Logic 2.5 LED Light

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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    I certainly believe that a solar cover will retain heat. I use a very heavy clear one on my large greenhouse taken off very early spring and not put back on till Dec. I have to secure it very well with ties and 4" straps running over the top and secured well into wooden base.

    Questions though.

    How can one possibly be held in place, on pool, with normal winds 20-40 mph and frequently much higher even up to and above 60 mph year round?

    Don't really want speculation but experience. It would have to be taken off every morning by one person, me.

    I forgot the other question.

    EDIT.... I remember What about areas where air temps stay above 75 at night and reach high 90s-100+ during day. Wouldn't that be too much trouble. Would an alternative be to not turnover water at night? Would that help to keep it warmer? That is a serious question. Will the water stay warmer not moving or be helped by running through a hot pump?

    gg=alice

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Molson's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    Hi Alice, to answer your first question in regards to the cover staying on the pool, I have a solar cover on my 16x40 pool and have never had it blow off, or even up for that matter. The surface tension on the water seems to hold it flat, and not allow the wind to catch a corner, and 99% of the time I am winding the cover up myself on the reel, and it is no effort at all, just make sure its going on even.
    40 x 16 IG Vinyl. Goldline SWG
    160 Sq Ft Roof mounted solar array
    2014 Hydropool Serenity 5000 Hot Tub
    The Pool School- A great place to start
    Jason's Pool calculator

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    dayhiker's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    What all does everyone do to take these covers on and off? I've seen the reel systems but don't really want something bolted to the conrete under the diving board. It's a pain to pull on and off until it finally warms enough to store it.

    I've been thinking of making some sort of frame out of plumbing piping. I'm wondering about folding the cover in half, then having a cut in the pipe to slide the end of the cover through, and reel it in. The whole thing would be on large, lockable type wheels so that it would be steady while reeling, but still be mobile.

    Has anyone done any sort of mobile storage solution?



    EDIT: I found mobile ones for sale, last time I looked I only saw bolt ons. Dang, $250+ is steep though. I bet I could build something much, much cheaper. I do wonder about folding the blanket 1x so that I have to deal with storing a 9' item instead of an 18' item.
    The avatar is Spalding from Caddyshack
    18x36 vinyl IG - approximately 24000 gal
    Jandy SHPM1.5 Pump (1.5 HP); Jandy APURE 1400 SWG; Polaris PB4-60Q Booster Pump; Jandy CL340 Cartridge Filter
    (3) 4'x12' Aquatherm solar panels
    Next project, pump sound enclosure and lots of pool landscaping [6tons of stone 8) funnnn]

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    I had the heavy blue/silver cover - it lasted 5 summers but I should have tossed after 4.
    I bought a cheap 6 ml cover and it lasted 2 summers.
    I bought a blue/black 8 ml cover last summer and I love it. Absolutely love it and when time comes to replace it I will get the same kind.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    I had the heavy blue/silver cover - it lasted 5 summers but I should have tossed after 4.
    I bought a cheap 6 ml cover and it lasted 2 summers.
    I bought a blue/black 8 ml cover last summer and I love it. Absolutely love it and when time comes to replace it I will get the same kind.

    Intersting facts on the life expectancy. Thanks

    To answer the question about how do I roll it up?
    I usually fold mine flat down to about a 4 x4 square and store it in the garage on top of a cardboard box flattened out.
    In-Ground SWG pool 11,000 gal., Jandy CL460 Filter, 1.5hp Stealth Jandy pump, Paramount PV3 In-Floor cleaning sys., Goldline SWG, Hayward Color Logic 2.5 LED Light

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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Molson
    Hi Alice, to answer your first question in regards to the cover staying on the pool, I have a solar cover on my 16x40 pool and have never had it blow off, or even up for that matter. The surface tension on the water seems to hold it flat, and not allow the wind to catch a corner, and 99% of the time I am winding the cover up myself on the reel, and it is no effort at all, just make sure its going on even.
    Thanks much. What kind of winds do you have? Also some people cut theirs in two or more pieces making it easier to pull out and fold in the a.m. How about you guys who do that? Seems I've read that they are more prone to flying off when done that way. True?

    Last year was one of our coolest summers on record. Not that many 100+ days in a row and cooler nights, all summer, than usual. (Some summers we can have temps hovering at or above 90, all night, for a couple of months.) The water never got warm enough for my liking. One solution is to get a little overheated in the spa and then get in the pool but that's not a usual solution.

    Wish I could use a reel. Bummer There's just not enough space around the pool especially with now, five (six with neighbor's frequently visiting girl) rambunctious dogs running around the pool. The only way to yard is via pool decking. Besides that I don't have anything out there but muted, woodsy, natural colors except for the pool tile and pool water color. There's not enough space to hide it either with a box of sorts. If something isn't bolted down it will eventually get knocked into the pool by the dogs if it is anywhere near the pool. If it was a square pool it would be easier to conceal it. As is the dogs love to flirt with the edges all around going full speed and sometimes miss the edge. Then they all pile in at that spot. One has to be very careful, especially when the water is cold, or risk getting knocked into the pool. They are all young and/or puppies and very active and kept in the house at night so they spend most of the day running and tumbling and, of course, swimming and leaping in on top of each other. When the baby girls, 13 wk old Australian Cattle Monsters, get a little bigger and have their "where to get out" lessons down, it will truly be a riot all day.

    BTW.... I keep a pretty close eye on them. When I am going to be in the house longer than a few seconds I bring the girls in AND, thank goodness, Jake Mastiff doesn't jump on top of anyone. It's mainly the Doodles but the girls will probably start doing it at some point.

    I haven't used a solar cover in the past because the older dogs had access to the pool 24/7. The puppies are so inquisitive and move around so much more they had more than their share of Copperhead bites last summer so we restrict them to the house and courtyard at night. It was rare for the older dogs to get bites after a certain age. They frequently race up and down the carpeted stairs at night tossing heavy toys and balls down racing after them. It's okay as long as they don't bark too much so we can get some

    Never dull around here.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    Quote Originally Posted by iggy
    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    I had the heavy blue/silver cover - it lasted 5 summers but I should have tossed after 4.
    I bought a cheap 6 ml cover and it lasted 2 summers.
    I bought a blue/black 8 ml cover last summer and I love it. Absolutely love it and when time comes to replace it I will get the same kind.

    Intersting facts on the life expectancy. Thanks

    To answer the question about how do I roll it up?
    I usually fold mine flat down to about a 4 x4 square and store it in the garage on top of a cardboard box flattened out.
    I should add the first 5 seasons (with the really expensive cover) my water chemistry was pathetic because I didn't know about BBB and there were times my PH was too low - this may have contributed to the decline of the cover. The little bubbles began to rupture and would fill with water, and these pockets sometimes turned green with algae. The waterfilled pockets eventually made the cover too heavy for me to lift on and off of the pool.

    I roll mine up like a giant eggroll and stow it in the shade under the umbrella. For winterization I clean it really well and dry it off, then I roll it up nicely and store it up on the shelf in the shed where critters hopefully won't find it.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    I know this has been asked a zillion times before. Do you put the flat side against the water for better "adhesion" and to assist wind not getting up under it?

    I'm going to put on my thinking cap to see if I can rig up something to keep cover from lifting in high winds. Surely there is something to do????? ?????
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    Alice, have you seen my posts about bleach jugs?

    Bubbles down
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Alice, have you seen my posts about bleach jugs?

    Bubbles down
    Yes. Thanks. I just found one. I have the clear one on the greenhouse bubbles down too. I can vouce that bubble side down does make for better appearance too. The dust, pollen, and other debris just blows or rinses right off with hose or rain.

    Didn't I see somewhere that someone blows off heavy plant debris, at times, with a leaf blower? My pool is only 16' wide so I think the little battery powered leaf blower will work. This, of course, will be less needed as the plant debris subsides going more towards summer. Right now the tall holly trees, right by the pool, are shedding profusely filling the one Pool Skim bag and skimmer sock several times a day. It was so bad the other night as the pollen dangly thingies were finishing up and holly leaves falling I had to turn the pump off to get some sleep. The pool was a mess the next morning even though the Aquabot ran all night. Even evergreen trees regenerate leaves. I need to look those up as they are tall trees and not shrubs as people often think of them. They, also, don't have sharp points on the leaves. I'm sure they are quite common landscape plants down here but I just can't remember the name.

    Thanks lady, gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    Quote Originally Posted by geekgranny
    Right now the tall holly trees, right by the pool, are shedding profusely filling the one Pool Skim bag and skimmer sock several times a day. It was so bad the other night as the pollen dangly thingies were finishing up and holly leaves falling I had to turn the pump off to get some sleep. The pool was a mess the next morning even though the Aquabot ran all night. Even evergreen trees regenerate leaves. I need to look those up as they are tall trees and not shrubs as people often think of them. They, also, don't have sharp points on the leaves. I'm sure they are quite common landscape plants down here but I just can't remember the name.
    Off topic.... I think the trees are American Holly, native to Texas. Mine must have morphed though as the leaves don't have little spikes on them.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

  20. Back To Top    #20
    iggy's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...Do they really work?

    Quote Originally Posted by iggy
    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    I had the heavy blue/silver cover - it lasted 5 summers but I should have tossed after 4.
    I bought a cheap 6 ml cover and it lasted 2 summers.
    I bought a blue/black 8 ml cover last summer and I love it. Absolutely love it and when time comes to replace it I will get the same kind.

    Intersting facts on the life expectancy. Thanks

    To answer the question about how do I roll it up?
    I usually fold mine flat down to about a 4 x4 square and store it in the garage on top of a cardboard box flattened out.
    In-Ground SWG pool 11,000 gal., Jandy CL460 Filter, 1.5hp Stealth Jandy pump, Paramount PV3 In-Floor cleaning sys., Goldline SWG, Hayward Color Logic 2.5 LED Light

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