You can buy cheap car inverters for less than $50. I purchased a 400W inverter for about $20 at a discount store. This unit will not run a microwave but I believe it can run my refrigerator. It has an 800W surge rating. With my kill-a-watt meter I have scene only as high as 700W. (actually I was checking Volt-amps, this has to do with power factor, for another time…)

All I would need to do is pop the hood and connect directly to the battery. If I could use 50amp hours from my battery and still start the car then..

50 amp hours x 12V = 600W of usable power.

This means I could run 400W of “stuff” for only 1.5 hours. Or I could run 100W of stuff for 6 hours. That would mean we could run a few CFLs and a laptop for the better part of one night.

Here is the bast part, when I feel the battery is running low just start the car. Let it run for 30 minutes and you will have a fresh battery. I will be the first to admit, this is a huge waste of fuel for the car. But, how often does the power go out? What if you need to run a CPAP machine? If it has battery backup maybe it can not go all night. If your power is out for an extended period of time you may be able to plug in the refrigerator and let it run for an hour to keep the food from spoiling.

As I type this there is a foot of snow on the ground. I could have lost power. But I did not. If I did I would have it under control thanks to my cheap car inverter.