Upgrading My RV Lighting to LED - What Should I know?

June 22, 2018 2 Comments

Upgrading My RV Lighting to LED - What Should I know?

Do you happen to be someone who is contemplating the idea of upgrading your RV lighting to LED? Well, if yes then there are a couple of things here that you might find helpful. Before we start talking about it, let us first understand what LEDs actually are. More importantly, how are they going to benefit you?

LED or Light Emitting Diode is a light source that does not produce light by heating a filament like conventional bulbs. It is a semiconductor light source where the electrons release energy in the form of photons. They emit less heat than their conventional counterparts and ensure that you do not burn your fingertips when in contact with LEDs.

Although LEDs have been around since the 1960s, most recreational vehicle manufacturers did not install them until recently. The fragile nature of these bulbs made them unfit for RV use. However, today, they come in different shapes and sizes and have considerably improved on the durability factor as well. So if you happen to be someone who is looking to upgrade their existing RV lighting to LED, here is what you should know:


RV lighting to LED


LEDs Are An Affordable Investment For The Long Haul:

Owning an RV can seem to be a lifestyle choice for some people, but it is certain to come with many significant advantages.

Minimizing the electrical consumption is an important benefit of having a Motorhome. RV parks usually ask trailer owners to pay for basic amenities like electricity or water along with the space rent. Since the central idea of a camper is to keep the travel costs low, keeping electrical usage in check becomes all the more crucial. Especially when the varying electricity rates across the country can easily burn a hole in your pocket.

Although the initial costs of investing in LEDs for your RV can seem meteorically high, they end up being easier on your wallet in the long haul.

An average 60 incandescent light bulb will cost somewhere close to $5 dollars to run over a period of one year. Meanwhile, a 12W LED will cost you close to $1 for the same period. In fact, even the initial cost of LED fixtures for your motorhome is justified. This is because the LEDs have a life of 25,000 hours while the conventional bulbs last only for 1,000 hours. Plus, LEDs provide better illumination without draining your battery or solar resources.


RV Lighting


Things To Consider Before Installing LEDs In Your RV


Although LEDs can significantly bring down the costs of maintaining a trailer, some people make the mistake of not doing their research which reflects in their overall costs. We will help you uncover some rookie mistakes that people make while buying LEDs for their camper.


Not Choosing The Right LEDs




Most RV owners make the mistake of buying LED bulbs for their RV’s without taking note of their fixtures. It is common among the people who buy LEDs online and are looking to install them on their own. However, what they fail to realize is that not all bulbs fit into all the fixtures. There is usually a number on the light fixtures of your RV. It is imperative for you to look for a number on the lights that correspond to the fixtures on your motorhome. Buying the wrong products is only going to drive up the initial cost of ownership.


 Choosing The Wrong Colors


We often come across people who buy their LEDs without considering their color. It is crucial to understand the importance of lighting in an RV. Lighting can lift the overall look of your trailer or end up being a blemish in your interior. Choose a color that goes well with your interior. For instance, there are three white colors that you can choose from – warm white, cool white and natural white. Cool White has a bluish tone and is more suited for areas like studies or workplace. On the other hand, Warm White has a more yellowish undertone to it and does the job perfectly well in pretty much any area like bedrooms, lobby and even bathrooms.


Substandard Quality


It is completely okay to buy average quality LED fixtures for something like your car garage. By average we mean that it gets the job done while ensuring it does not burn down the whole place. However, when it comes to choosing LEDs for your RV, you need to be extra cautious. You are going to take your camper on the road every now and then. Naturally, you need to buy LED lights that have the good build quality and can stand the test of time. Buying cheap products to replace them time and again will only cause an inconvenience and drive up the installation costs.


Not Buying RV Specific LED fixtures


Like we just mentioned above, LED fixtures for RVs are different than what you would usually install at home. Apart from the build quality, the major difference lies in the electrical specification of these products. LEDs for motorhomes usually carry a voltage rating of 10-30V which is perfect when looking to curb your electricity consumption. However, installing LEDs built for home on your trailer can instantly suck up the energy from your battery. This can be particularly dangerous if you happen to like boondocking, which can leave you in the middle of nowhere.


Ignoring The Warranty


People try different tricks to save them a few bucks when it comes to the initial cost of LEDs. Since LEDs cost up to ten times more than a conventional incandescent bulb, it is natural to do that. However, some people make the choice of buying LEDs that do not come with manufacturer warranty. This may save you a couple of bucks, but it still isn't a wise choice for your RV.

A branded product will always come with a warranty that keeps you covered in case of damage or failure. It is usually only the cheap quality products that do not carry a warranty. More often than not, they fail to last even a couple of months. You eventually have to spend your own money to replace them which otherwise would have been covered by the manufacturer.


Keeping these crucial points in mind will ensure you make a well-informed buying decision. Since the whole idea of investing in LEDs is to keep the costs down, it is better to buy quality products once instead of replacing cheap LEDs every few months.

Good quality LEDs come equipped with aluminum heat sinks that ensure a longer lifespan for the lights. They consume 1/10th of energy as compared to incandescent light bulbs. This will reflect in real-world savings or perhaps even help your family on the road longer than you planned. What makes them even more compatible for trailer use is the fact that they emit very less heat. So if you are someone who is tired of redoing their ‘blackened’ RV interior often, then LEDs could perhaps put an end to your problem forever. 

2 Responses


November 05, 2019

Great summary article. Buy quality, and like you mention, look for ones with aluminum heat sinks which cheap ones don’t have. Similarly, there are Many horribly designed cheap LED fixtures out there that fail early, even OEM installed ones. Luckily there are now better LEDs repair modules out there to fix this common junk instead of replacing the whole fixture again with another poorly designed fixture. Research folks.

Alchemy Coeur
Alchemy Coeur

February 05, 2019

In my shopping I have found that buying full replacement LED fixtures, asumming you can install them yourself – which i can, is a cheaper, safer option than updating just the bulb. Just my two cents!

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