How to Keep Your Home Medical Equipment Functioning During Power Outage

Introduction

With the increasing prevalence of home-operated medical equipment, preparing for a worst-case scenario is essential. Critically, these lifesaving apparatuses must utilize electrical energy to operate. Hence, the prospect of power outages is devastating for these sick patients. Therefore, having a backup power supply is essential to guarantee uninterrupted treatment even during long-term outages. This article will outline the most common options highlighting their key features, before concluding with the most effective source of emergency power.

Home Use Medical Devices

The global medical industry has developed increasingly complex and innovative life-saving systems. As a result, a significant revolution has come in the form of essential life-saving equipment which can be operated at a patient's home. Home-based long-term treatment of chronic conditions has freed up countless hospital beds, easing the pressure on healthcare providers. More significantly, these devices have provided sick patients with the capacity to deal with their ongoing health conditions from the comfort of their own homes.

Crucial at-home equipment often includes devices that assist patients' respiration and provide continual hematological treatments and readings. Most often, these come from ventilators, oxygen condensers, pulse oximeters, insulin pumps, and dialysis machines. These devices are essential for continually monitoring and treating chronic or long-term illnesses.

Treatment and monitoring are essential for maintaining the health status of patients that often require 24 hours operation or repeated use throughout the day. Modern devices can come in various forms, from large apparatuses like dialysis machines to tiny battery-operated insulin pumps that fit in your pocket. Regardless of the size, they both provide incredibly life-saving assistance to patients.

indoor generator for medical equipment

Which is the Most Reliable Backup Power Solution?

Home-operated medical equipment is a remarkable phenomenon that has taken the market by storm. It is predicted that by 2025 the US alone will have 70 million patients using home-based monitoring systems alone. As a result, demands for these technologies have become seriously advantageous to patients and caregivers alike. First, however, some severe implications must be evaluated.

Power outages are becoming increasingly common globally. Extreme and increasingly unpredictable weather conditions are the main culprit. Unfortunately, national grids have not had time to adapt to the new prevalence of extreme weather, which is continually knocking out entire power grids for prolonged periods of time. For most, blackouts are a frustrating inconvenience, particularly when combined with severe weather conditions. However, for patients reliant on life-preserving medical equipment, it is the most concerning issue they will likely face. 

Hospitals are the optimal environments for medical treatments. Not simply because of the abundance of health care professionals but also because they require a substantial integrated backup power system. Hence why it is thoroughly recommended that patients at home have an adequate backup system bespoke to their needs.

Backup Power Solutions

Several reliable backup power sources are available on the market. However, there are numerous variables to consider, including longevity, power requirements, dependability, and cost. Fortunately, some options should meet the requirements of patients on every spectrum.

Traditional Desiel Generators

Typically, traditional diesel power generators have been the preferred choice. Generators offer huge volumes of power, which can be accessible 24 hours a day. Patients with larger power-hungry apparatus like oxygen condensers can efficiently utilize these robust and reliable generators as they produce a mains voltage. However, they are limited by the volume of fuel patients have stored, which can also be very difficult to estimate. In addition, diesel generators lack power storage and are very loud when operating. Ultimately, their simplicity is ideal as an uncomplicated short-term solution, but they lack long-term viability during an extended outage.

Backup Batteries

Backup batteries are another popular solution. Standard disposable batteries can power smaller devices like insulin pumps. Maintaining a long-term supply of these can be reasonably simple due to their compact size and cost. Alternatively, some patients have employed larger 12V leisure battery systems that are charged through the main socket. With the correct installation, they can be used as an adequate battery backup for oxygen concentrators to wrist-worn heart monitors.

However, these set-ups are more technical, as they require some specialized equipment like inverters to allow them to be used as a source of mains strength electricity. They also demand a reasonably high installation cost and ample space to store the heavy and cumbersome battery packs. The 12V backup is ideal for areas with frequent short-term outages, as the power output is ultimately limited to its charge capacity. Similar to the traditional generator, it is difficult to estimate the appropriate number of batteries to store.

Vehicle Charging Adapter

An inexpensive modern emergency power solution is a vehicle charge adapter. Innovative adapters can use a multitude of optional power inputs, including the cigarette car charging port. Vehicle charging is a convenient solution in an emergency situation. Of course, this offers little long-term viability and can only be utilized in an emergency situation.

Solar Generator

A modern problem requires a modern solution. In this instance, portable power stations are a contemporary answer to this newly developed trend. Effectively they offer the power equivalent of an indoor generator for medical equipment. These ingenious devices are exceptionally well suited as an emergency power source, as well as a host of other applications.

battery backup for oxygen concentrator

Portable power stations are integrated, easily maneuverable power supplies designed with versatility and longevity in mind. Generally, they are rechargeable batteries with a fully integrated inverter to provide mains voltage. Typically, they incorporate main sockets along with several low-voltage USB outlets, with some even boasting wireless charging. Moreover, they are often designed to take multiple charging inputs, including mains, USB, solar, and vehicle outlet.

Initially, it is clear that they provide an excellent solution during power outages. They are highly versatile, easily stored, and maneuvered power sources. Portable power stations can be employed as main power sources for ventilators or as simple recharging points for smaller batteries. However, like the alternative power sources above, the power station is limited to the battery's capacity. Luckily, this is not always the case.

The beauty of a portable power station is that they are typically provided with a lightweight and easily maneuvered solar panel, transforming it into a solar generator. Combined with a highly efficient MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) charge controller, it is manufactured to use solar energy to charge efficiently. Modern solar panels can comfortably harvest energy even on cloudy days and make for some of the cleanest and easiest power sources to have been discovered.

A solar generator is a perfect solution as an emergency power source for medical equipment during outages. It offers an adaptable and dependable energy source that can be charged using the endless energy of the sun.

Solar Generators Added Benefit - Uninterrupted Power Source

Electrical energy has become an underappreciated stable in homes. Electricity is an incredibly complex and dangerous resource that has been cleverly harnessed as a reliable power source. However, it can become temperamental in nature, particularly during periods of volatility when the grid system has been compromised.

Power stations often incorporate a critical safety feature, a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply). The medical equipment is plugged into the power station, which is plugged directly into the main outlet. When there is a drop in power for a fraction of a second, the station's battery switches on to continue an effectively seamless electrical supply to the device.

UPS feature is a life-saving component of an already versatile solar generator. Critical devices such as ventilators and oxygen condensers must function uninterrupted to provide their life-preserving effect. Even a momentary pause can have catastrophic effects.

backup power supply for oxygen concentrator

Moreover, the UPS system often operates in conjunction with a surge protector. Poorly maintained electrical grid systems and areas with a prevalence of lightning strikes are susceptible to power surges. These current imperfections cause an overload of electricity to pass through the mains circuit. Often this will simply blow a fuse. However, it can damage delicate electrical equipment instantly. The surge protector performs the UPS feature in reverse by protecting their connections from passing an overcharged current to connected devices.

Conclusion

Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst is an excellent mantra in the world of health care. In this instance, patients with vital medical equipment must be well prepared for long-term power outages to guarantee their well-being goes uncompromised. Although there are several effective power sources available, there is one system that clearly surpasses the others.

Solar generators are an ideal option whether you need a backup power supply for your oxygen concentrator or a recharging station for your insulin pump. They offer portable, reliable power with an essentially unlimited supply of power harnessed from the sun. Not only that, they can provide the invaluable benefit of a UPS to protect patients' equipment while ensuring they function seamlessly during blackouts. They may be fairly new to the marketplace, but they will undoubtedly be the most highly recommended backup for patients internationally.