Saturday, August 30, 2014

CNG Conversion Kits for Cars

I've been thinking about converting my car to CNG and did some research on the pros and cons of a natural gas car fuel conversion. Here's what I found ...

What are CNG vehicles?
Natural gas vehicles are also referred to as compressed natural gas autos.

They look like a regular vehicle but operate on natural gas, which is abundant and on U.S. soil.

This fossil fuel allows Americans to reduce dependency on foreign oil.

Because there's a lot of this fossil fuel, compressed natural gas prices are low.

Another benefit is that natural gas engines produce less emissions, which makes a clean energy alternative.

Natural gas vehicle conversion
CNG cars are very similar to their gasoline counterparts, and conversion kits allow the capability to switch from natural gas to gasoline at the flick of a switch.

Because both can be ran on the same vehicle, there's a potential downfall and upside to this.

EXTRA PARTS: The engine bay will have additional components in it -- such as a regulator, more hoses, wires, and pipes.

Although these mechanical items are out of the way, they do pose a problem because they are complex and something could go wrong with them.

TRUNK SPACE: CNG conversions do require trunk space for the tank, which means groceries will be relegated to the back seat.

Even with the loss of a little trunk space, modern economy cars are still spacious. The only concern would be cross-country vacation trips due to a lack of luggage room.

The price to convert depends on many factors.

If you are a mechanically orientated do-it-yourselfer, you could finish this project in your garage for about $1,000 dollars, which is considerably cheaper than many kits on the market.

CNG conversion around $1,000 bucks

One issue is the emissions certification for your state. Although CNG vehicles produce less emissions, the kits must adhere to requirements set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resource Board, and/or your state.

Info about emissions certification is available from the U.S. Department of Energy, and a list of compressed natural gas cylinder inspectors is available at CSA America.

Check out the laws before buying or converting.

Although natural gas in its pure state is odorless, suppliers add mercaptan to it. This chemical gives it that rotten egg smell, which is a safety feature for leak detection.

Most times natural gas is detected by smell long before combustion conditions can occur, which requires a range of 5 to 15 percent in the air.

That's about 16 times higher than at which you'll smell natural gas. On average, a concentration of natural gas at 0.3 percent by volume in air is easily detected by people with average smelling capacity.

 Refueling can be done at the pump quickly.

This fossil fuel also ignites at a higher temp -- about 600 degrees Celsius -- compared to gasoline -- about 315 degrees Celsius.

Also, because a natural gas fuel cell is under high pressure, a loud hissing noise is detectable if there's a leak.

EFFICIENCY: With a higher combustion temperature, this high octane fuel is efficient, with less wasted fuel and cleaner exhaust gasses.

Despite the efficiency, the higher internal temp may affect the engine in the long run if it's only designed for gasoline and may require a rebuild more often.

CNG stations

Storage tanks for CNG range in size. Tank size affects how far you can go before refilling.

For commuters, a two gallon tank should, depending on your car's CNG fuel economy, get you about 50 miles. A larger 7 gallon tank will provide about 150 miles of travel.

For some folks, public CNG filling stations are all along their route. (There are about 500 open to the public in the U.S.) But for those not so fortunate, a CNG home filling station can be purchased.

A Phill home refueling appliance allows you to tap into your home's natural gas supply to refill your car. This device can refill your car's tank overnight.

Is a CNG conversion worth it?

The price for this new alternative energy does not provide an up-front savings.

Although there's few ready-to-go cheap CNG conversion kits, they will pay for themselves over a few years' time -- as long as you own the converted car.

Those investing in a CNG conversion kit for their car should be looking toward the future, not to save a couple bucks this year or next year.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Getting Kicked out of Home - 'I Got a Notice to Pay or Quit'

A notice to pay or quit posted to your door is a sure sign you're getting kicked out of home. It is not a welcoming sight. You do want to explore all options available to you to stop from being evicted. We'll look at a few common and not-so-common ways to help households who need to get money for rent.

'Can I be evicted?'

Yes, it's possible to be evicted -- even in the cold and even with children -- but talk to your landlord before jumping to conclusions. Taking the legal route with a notice to pay or quit is expensive for your landlord.

If you explain the situation to your landlord, he or she may be accommodating.

The landlord may be willing to help you break up the past due into installments over the next few months if you can provide a good faith payment and continue to pay.

Being upfront is the best solution, and their willingness to help does depend on a lot of factors -- the landlord, your payment history, and current financial affairs.

If your landlord will allow you to stay, you need to get money for rent. There are few options to get financial assistance.

Options include talking to your family and friends and explaining you are getting kicked out of home.

Your family may be willing to provide a little financial help to keep you afloat. They made do this, as well, because they may not want to see you move back in! (That could be a selling point for you if they are unwilling to provide any assistance.)

A good buddy may be willing to provide help in a pinch, and a good relationship with your family can help you get through tough times -- personally and financially.

'Help! I need cash now!'

There are numerous ways how to get money for rent, but emergency cash usually doesn't happen overnight.

Let's look at a few ways to get money to stop a notice of pay or quit.

A part-time job at a temp agency may be needed to get your rent paid.

It's also possible that you could sell items -- like that collection of DVDs and CDs collecting dust -- on Craigslist. Or that signed Brad Pitt poster on eBay. Etsy, also, is an option if you are crafty.

A local pawn broker can get you fast money, but it's not a good idea because you'll lose a lot of value selling it that way.

Although a plasma donation won't provide enough rent money, it will provide a little more to add to the kitty.

Also, take old clothing to a consignment shop.

Charities that help with rent

You may be able to get financial assistance from church if you are in good standing there, with years of attendance and patronage. The hardest part will be asking for help.

Although you may find it embarrassing, don't worry about it. You'll strengthen your bond to your congregation, and they'll be willing to help in crisis situation.

Remember, churches exist to help those in need -- whether spiritual or financial -- and this is a point to keep in mind for those people who are not church-goers.

Another option is Catholic Charities USA, which is nationwide, and The Salvation Army, which offers emergency shelter.

Other ways to get money for rent

A community action center and/or a public assistance office may know if a housing assistance program is available in your area.

They may also know if there are other organization in your community that will help pay your rent.

I hope these ideas about a notice to pay or quit help you from getting kicked out of home.