Have you ever noticed that the lights in your RV or trailer get really hot after being on for a short while? The reason that they get so hot is because the bulbs that are used in most RVs are very inefficient incandescent light bulbs.
Over the past year I have been playing with bouncing around the idea that there must be a better lighting solution. There is, and it’s super cool LED lighting.
There are an incredible number of great reasons to switch to LED lighting. I couldn’t even begin to list them all, but I will share a few that I believe are the most relevant to campers just like you!
The most important reason for me is safety. While the standard bulbs that came with your RV are considered generally safe, they do create some risks. You could easily find yourself with a serious burn if you were to touch one of those super heated bulbs. Having three children myself, I worry about that one a lot.
An LED bulb stays cool to the touch, so you won’t need to worry anymore about that aspect of first aid while you are roughing it.
If you’re into boondocking (camping without the luxuries of being connected to power, water, etc.), then LED lighting may be right up your alley. When you are running off of batteries, you want to conserve all of the electricity that you can – because running out is not very much fun. Trust me on this one, it happened to me last year.
Traditionaly RV light bulbs are usually 12 watt bulbs. A typical 27′ travel trailer with a slide-out and a couple of bunk beds could have 20 or more incandescent light bulbs. Running all of these lights at once would draw about 20 amps of DC power. That’s enough to kill a single 12 volt battery in just a few hours
Replacing each of these bulbs with a 24 LED array soft white bulb, the total power draw would drop to about 3.8 amps. That’s more less than 1/5 of the incandescent bulbs! We have a 21′ travel trailer and I counted 16 incandescent light bulbs. Next time you are outside, see how many you have.
Switching to LED light bulbs will reduce your battery drain significantly, or at the very least minimize your electricty costs. Saving on energy consumption is another really good reason for switching to LED lighting.
For all of it’s benefits, LED lighting does have a down side – cost.
LED light bulbs cost considerably more than traditional light bulbs. You can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $10 per bulb, compared to x -x for the standard incandescents. The prices have definitely been coming down over the years and will likely continue to drop as more and more people switch to LEDs.
Replacement LEDs might not look like you expect them to. Often they come as an array of small LEDs on a board, other times they are mocked up to look similar to bulbs. Not to worry though, they still plug in the same as the old light bulbs. Have a look:
If you think that the benefits justify the cost of LED lighting, you’re probably wondering where to start shopping. You may have some local stores that can sell you what you need, but I haven’t had any luck in my area. The best deals and selection seem to be online.
After much searching and reading, one place comes more recommended than any others for LED lighting purchases – Super Bright LEDs. They actually have a complete RV section where you can get everything you need to retrofit your RV or trailer.
Don’t get too worried about the word retrofit in that last sentance. They sell bulbs that fit into your existing light fixtures, so you don’t need to wire a thing. Just plug and play! If you think LED lighting will be harsh and bright, that’s just not true. The PCB LED bulbs are readily available in soft white.
Super Bright LEDs ships worldwide, with shipping to Canada taking about 7 days.