I’ve thinking about diabetics who need insulin and the dilemma they would have should they ever be faced with a lengthy power outage.
It’s my understanding that not only does the insulin need to be refrigerated to be effective but that the temperature should not even fluctuate very much at all.
When the power goes out they have an obvious problem: how to keep their insulin cold until the power is restored? Certainly, the same can be said for any mediation that needs to be kept refrigerated.
While people offer solutions like an entire off-grid solar setup–which would be great, don’t get me wrong–such an idea is a bit much for most people and no doubt expensive. Other last-ditch ideas I’ve heard include ice packs and even burying it! I don’t know how well either of those ideas would work over weeks and months.
Of course, you could choose to continue powering the entire refrigerator with either a generator or, my favorite, an inverter connected to your car. The problem remains, however, that you’re drawing a good amount of power from your vehicle’s battery to cool items that may not honestly NEED to be cooled, at least when compared to life-necessary medications.
In this case, it may be wise to focus solely on keeping such medications cold and to abandon everything else. As such, the best idea I could come up with that didn’t require large sums of money or last-ditch ideas was simply to purchase a small 12-volt DC cooler such as this Koolatron Compact Kooler:
There are certainly other options but for right around $100 you have a small cooler that can be used specifically to keep life-necessary medications as cold as possible.
I say “as cold as possible” because these DC coolers don’t actually keep their contents set at a specific temperature–such as 38 degrees–but, rather, cool down to between 36-40 degrees below the ambient temperature.
That is, if the outside temperature is 80 degrees then the cooler can get down to around 40 degrees; similarly if it’s 90 degrees outside then the cooler can get down to around 50 degrees.
Obviously, it behooves you to keep such DC coolers in a room that’s as cool as possible to begin with which means that keeping it in the car is likely not the best solution, especially during the summer heat.
While it is possible to get a 12V Extension Cord that can extend the length of a typical auxiliary (cigarette) plug I’m not quite sure how good of an idea this is to use for days on end. Granted, the cooler only uses 4 amps of power (48 watts) so maybe it’s not much of a problem.
The only other major concern is that it seems the cooler (no matter which one you purchase) should be continually plugged in to keep the constant temperature, though, you could probably prolong the cooling effects by super-insulating the cooler.
I don’t own this cooler and haven’t tried this idea. Just offering it as a possible solution where one failed to exist before. Hope it helps.