Typical incandescent RV lights can be expensive to run, replace, and lots of hassle, so it makes sense to want to replace your RV lights with LED bulbs.
The most common RV light can be replaced with any 12v LED light bulb. A common RV light bulb and a LED bulb share the same standard A19 shape with a medium E26 screw base. With the measurements of the average LED light bulb, it should fit into your standard socket with the dimensions being 5 x 2.9 x 2.9 inches.
Choosing the Correct LED Lights for Your RV
When considering replacing your RV lights with LED lights, it is important to know the exact voltage, filaments, and sizing that are needed to replace the RV light.
The easiest thing to think of when replacing RV lights with LED bulbs is sizing. The most important part of sizing to focus on will be the size of the base and whether it holds a pin or one or two filaments. This will change per light bulb, but sometimes you get lucky and all of your interior bulbs for your RV are the same unless they have been changed and replaced in the past.
The easiest way to find an exact sizing match for your RV lights is by looking at the base size and wattage of the current bulb and finding a conversion chart online for incandescent light bulbs to LED light bulbs. Here is a very basic conversion chart for incandescent lights to LED lights.
|Up to 30 W
As you can see in the table, there is quite the difference in the wattage between Incandescent and LED light bulbs, but this is exactly what makes the LED light bulbs so eco-friendly as well as more cost-efficient.
You can also find a cheat sheet for matching the bases of your RV lights LED lights here.
The basic interior LED bulb replacement should be 12 watts. This is the standard amount of watts for typical interior lights. As for the voltage, most RVs have what is called a 12-volt house system that can tend to fluctuate.
It is important when replacing your RV lights with LED light bulbs to choose LED lights that are specifically made for the sockets in the RV. Once you know the sizing the bulbs you are trying to replace, it makes it a lot easier to try and replace them with LED bulbs.
There are LED bulbs that are even made for RVs. This helps with the fluctuation in voltage. Believe it or not, the LED bulbs that are specifically made for RVs have sensors that will regulate the voltage from the RV. Isn’t that so cool? I guess it’s pretty convenient too.
Replacing Your RV Lights with LED Bulbs
Now that you have found the right size LED bulb for your RV, it would be helpful to know the basic steps of how to change them. This site goes into more detail on how to change them.
- Turn off your 12v power supply or disconnect from power
- Remove light caps from old dome light
- Remove light bulbs from old dome light
- Grab your drill and remove old dome light casing
- Disconnect wires
- Connect wires for new LED light fixture
- Turn the power back on (if light works move to next step, if not rewire the connection)
- Remove bulb covers
- Screw new fixture into wall or ceiling
- Replace plastic bulb covers
- Enjoy your new energy efficient lighting
RV Bulbs vs LED Bulbs
So, way back in the day when LED lights were still a pretty new concept, they were pretty expensive and not really realistic for the budget. Well, stop believing all those rumors because this is no longer true. In the long run, the LED light is a pretty smart and budget-friendly purchase.
First of all, can we talk about just how much it costs to run those old incandescent RV lights per year? And yeah, there’s a lot of them in an RV, if you haven’t been looking up lately.
The typical incandescent light costs roughly $4.80 to run per year, and they only last up to roughly 1,000 hours before they blow out. In comparison, the LED light bulb will cost not even $1.00 to run and will last an entire 25,000 hours, if not more.
Though they are a little pricer to get up front, they will save you money in the long run.
But that’s only talking about efficiency for your budget. There is so much more than that.
As you could tell by that little cost efficiency breakdown, the LED light bulbs are also much more energy efficient. The typical LED light bulb requires a measly 10% of the power that those old incandescent RV lights use. That also means saving battery power on your RV. I don’t know about you yet, but I’m sold.
Also, have you removed those incandescent lights lately? Do you have those lovely burn marks on your ceiling from those lights? Yeah, talk about unreliable. Unless you accidentally grabbed the wrong type of LED light bulb, you should not be having that problem with the newer bulbs.
Another thing: toughness. Have you ever been on a pretty gnarly road trip with your RV that has way too many potholes and bumps and hills? I know I have, and those pesky incandescent RV lights do not seem to be built for so much rough terrain. (Did someone forget to include the fact that they’re going into RVs?)
The incandescent lights might easily rock, flicker, fall, and shatter, but the LED lights are meant for the RV rocky road roughness. Take your RV on the rockiest road you can find once you have replaced those incandescent lights with LED bulbs and test it out. The LED bulbs are meant to handle those vibrations without taking any form of damage or even flickering. Do you know what that means? Replacing them less. Is that great or what?
Now that you have found the correct sizing of the bulb to get for your RV, understood how to replace them and had a refresher course on why they will benefit your life, you are ready to hit the road and enjoy those long-lasting bulbs!