Cold from heat

As we talk almost daily about the things we see in the future, I would like to address something very serious to me.

In the event of the failure of the power grid, do you have something that must be refrigerated? How about medicines? Specifically, how about insulin? Is anyone in your family dependent on that miracle drug? I can’t help you as far as supply, but maybe I can give you a few refrigeration ideas.

Growing up in Oklahoma, my Grandma had a Servel kerosene refrigerater. It worked day and night without a sound as it had no compressor. It used a flame and a process called absorption to produce cold. The refrigerant used was ammonia. It would keep ice cream and ice hard when the temperature was 100 degrees. It was probably only 90 in her kitchen. It had a 7 gallon fuel tank and used about 1 gallon per week. Math is not my strong point, but it would seem a 50 gallon drum would last a year at that rate. Her refrigerator had a vent pipe to remove some heat and fumes. The odor should not be as bad today because most of the sulphur is removed in the refining process. Also, kerosene will not varnish up like stored gasoline as there are usually no additives. Kerosene is lighter than diesel, but heavier than gasoline.

At this time, I have found no used kerosene refrigerators on Ebay or my local Craig’s List. But they are out there. I have seen them on line as recently as 6 weeks ago for $800- $1200. Keep in mind that these appliances are heavy and shipping could add quite a bit to your total cost. So, if possible, try to locate one in your area. An on scene inspection is the best policy. Like any other used appliances, examine carefully. Does it show rust? How bad? Is it structurely sound? Has it been running? Is it all there? Re: fuel tank, burner, wick holder, glass chimney, etc. If door gaskets are bad, you can purchase a roll of gasket material fairly cheaply. Is it still charged with refrigerant? So, put out the word locally. Your best deal might be down the street.

These type of refrigerators can also be powered by natural gas or LP gas (propane). They are both good, but it comes back to a supply that can be interrupted. Four of five plastic drums of kerosene would let you think of other things.

OK, now for the pain. There are new ones for sale. is one of several who carry them. You should have one of their catalogs anyway. The one they carry retails for a little over $2000 including shipping. I know. Ouch. Double ouch when I tell you we hauled my Grandma’s Servel to the dump when she got a new GE electric back in the 1960’s. Nobody wanted it.

This is why I talked about the used ones first. They are out there. If one could fit in your survival plans, get after it. Time is wasting.

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6 Responses to Cold from heat

  1. TN_Cat says:

    Here’s a link for you if you can’t find one stateside. Shipping and duty might run you another hundred but this thing could hold some medicine. First cost around 250.00 plus freight.

  2. RV fridges are perfect for emergencies, and there are trashed motor homes in every junk yard. Want a survival fridge? Yank one out of a motor home.

  3. sortahwitte says:

    I agree, in fact I have a RV fridge, but only for the very short term. I’m trying to make a way for the cool to last as long as possible. If there’s no electricity, there’s no production of natural gas or propane. There are no pumps to process it and move it to a point of sale.

  4. I found a round piece of metal that I believe to be a brand emblem off of the front of a Servel Kerosene refigerator while hunting. It has Servel Electrolux over a torch in the middle,Kerosene Refrigerator inprinted across the top and Made by Servel Inc. across the bottom. Any information would be appreciated

  5. Fubar says:

    this is a great idea. I also have a suggestion for finding an LP gas fridge (or other LP gas powered appliances)

    check Amish residential areas, even better, find an Amish owned hardware store. they have EVERYTHING

  6. BigJimTX says:

    No fuel needed for those of us with a little sunshine. Same tech, but solar powered.

    I had a buddy that was always talking about making one of these. I think I might give it a shot.