Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Home Refueling Appliances Work

Home Refueling Appliance Installation

Phill is an appliance that's mounted on the wall of a garage or carport and requires a standard residential natural gas supply and electric service (240 VAC / 60 HZ). HRAs should be professionally installed, and potential buyers should contact their local gas company before purchasing an HRA to be sure services are available. Some gas companies require a letter of installation intent. The Phill appliance costs about $3,500 plus an additional $1,000 to 2,000 for installation [source: Honda]. Owners are also eligible for a $1,000 federal tax credit as well as regional discounts and credits.

When in use, Phill consumes an estimated 800 watts of electricity, which is less than many coffeemakers or toasters [source: Natural Fuel Solutions]. It weighs about 100 pounds (45 kilograms) and is 30 inches by 14 inches by 14 inches (72 centimeters by 35.5 centimeters by 35.5 centimeters), about the size of a filing cabinet. At 45 dBA, it's quieter than a washing machine (60 dBA) or clothes dryer (65 dBA) [source: Noisy Planet]. Using Phill is simple: It has "start" and "stop" buttons, a hose and a nozzle. The nozzle snaps into place over the NGV's fuel tank opening, similar to filling a conventional car with gasoline. Phill automatically shuts off when the tank is full.

Although convenient, refueling with an HRA takes longer than gassing up at a public refueling station. Phill is a slow-fill compact natural gas compressor (as opposed to fast-fill public CNG stations) in addition to being a pump. Natural gas in residential lines is kept at low pressure, about 0.25 pounds per square inch (psi). CNG-powered vehicles, however, require 3,600 psi, and the HRA gradually increases the pressure to make up the difference. Owners can expect to refuel their NGV at a rate of 4 hours for every 50 miles (80 kilometers) driven [source: Natural Fuel Solutions].