In this guide I am going to take a look at various RV lighting ideas that you’ll find useful. The first thing I am going to do is explain how to replace incandescent lights with LED. Compared to regular lighting, LED lasts longer and is more cost efficient so it’s a better choice.
RV Lighting Ideas Complete Guide
Want to get rid of your old lights and put LED instead? Just follow these steps.
1. Removing the old bulbs
You need a flat headed screwdriver to remove the covers. Pry the covers off gently and slide out the bulbs. You may need to exert a bit of effort if the bulbs are old and stuck. But don’t force it or the bulb could break inside the socket.
2. Make a shopping list
Once you’ve taken the bulbs out, decide what type of LED bulbs you want to buy. LED bulbs are either 1 directional or omni directional and the following are the most common.
These bulbs have two wires at the bottom, though the tops differ. What’s important is the type of connection it comes with and the quality of light emission.
The 921 and 912 bulbs come with the same base connection but watts are not the same. Whichever of the two you choose, you may find that the 921 is a tad too bright and the 912 too dark. In either case LED lights should do the trick. What’s more important is the shape of the bulb.
C. Mini Incandescent Connection
These connections are not as widespread as others, but they do have the advantage of coming in various types. What you need to do is assess the brightness level of your bulb as that will tell you what kind of LED bulb to buy.
If you’ve got other kinds of connections you may need to check your RV manual to find out what bulb is suitable.
3. What is an LED RV Interior Light?
LED, or light emitting diode, provide bright, clear light. They have a longer lifespan than regular light bulbs and don’t use as much power. LED lights don’t produce heat and won’t burn your fingers either.
4. Why LED RV Lights an Affordable Investment
If you’ve got an RV you already know how important it is to manage energy consumption. With LED you’ll be able to save a lot on your electricity bill. Not only does LED consume less power, but a single bulb lasts thousands of hours longer than incandescent lights.
5. Just How Much Energy Will I Save?
The low wattage along with the vivid light makes LED lights ideal for homes including RVs. Just to give you an idea: a standard 60 watt bulb sets you back $4.80 a year with an average lifespan of 1,000 hours.
In contrast LED lights cost just $1 and has a lifespan of 25,000 hours. You can do the math and see how cheaper LED is. Given how much you spend on gas for your RV, the power savings are substantial.
6. Why You May Not Have Installed RV LED Lights
Some RVs, both new and old models, may have non-LED lights built in. Unless you look for it in the owner’s manual and inspect the lights, you probably won’t know what type of light is installed.Some RV owners don’t install LED lights because they don’t know the required output for heat, light and other specs. But it’s not really a cause for concern since incandescent and halogen light bulbs can be replaced with LED easily.
7. Why Should You Switch Your Unit’s Lights to LED?
There are many reasons I can cite but it comes down to is LED is more energy efficient and has a longer lifespan. LED lights don’t heat up so even if you leave it open your RV doesn’t get hot.
If you live in an RV you know how hot it can get especially during the summer. Well it gets worse if you’ve got halogen or incandescent due to the heat they generate.The heat not only makes the interior of your RV uncomfortable, but it also makes the bulbs vulnerable to damage and discoloration. In comparison LED lights remain cool even when used continuously. LED lights don’t use up battery as much as other incandescent light so it’s a good choice.
8. Will LED Bulbs Work in All the Lighting Components in My RV?
Yes they should. Majority of LED light bulb adapters allow you to use them in standard sockets. Just to be sure, take one of the old halogen or incandescent bulbs on your RV when you buy LED lights.I also want to point out that some new RVs have specialized dimmer light switches that may not be compatible with some LEDs. Chandeliers and patented light designs may also not work with some LEDs.
9. Are There Outdoor LED Lighting Options?
There are a lot of LED outdoor light options that will brighten up your RV and even the campground you’re on. When LED outdoor lights are on it’s easier than ever to navigate outside and see your surroundings.LED lights are not only bright but easier to set up. You may also want to use amber lens to keep the bugs off the LED. There are also a large number of rope-type and strip LED lights that gives you added versatility.
10. Purchasing the LED bulbs
After you have decided what light bulbs to buy, you can purchase them online or in your local supply store. There are different types so it should not be difficult to find one that matches your needs.
a. Consider Testing the Bulbs First
If you have never used LED lights on your RV before, it is a good idea to research the various products. There are a lot of LED light manufacturers to choose from, and you can check each one online.Look up their specs and features on their website or online vendor. If the specs are suitable for your RV, you can buy a couple to try. If they are compatible and satisfy your requirements, then it’s okay to buy a whole set for your RV.
b. Step #1 – Select the right LED lights for your RV
Examine your bulb’s base. Some will come with a pin while others have one filament. Take note of the bulb number and you’ll have little trouble finding the right LED.
c. Step #2 Types of LED lights
LED lights come in different colors, but for the sake of simplicity we can divide them into three types:
- Warm light is soft and looks like regular home interior lighting
- Cool light appears white and is the brightest when set up in your RV
- Natural light simulates the appearance of sunlight
d. Step #3 Go with quality components
LED is only as good as the materials used to make them. Yes they last longer than incandescent lights and have an average lifespan of 25,000 hours. But other LED lights can last for 50,000 hours or more. If you want to get the maximum value you’ll want to buy only LED with high quality parts.
e. Step #4 Inquire
Even if you have done research on LED, it never hurts to ask questions. When you visit the vendor website look for more facts about the product and also the contact information. Some of the questions that you should ask are:
- Does the light utilize aluminum heat sinks? This extends the fixture’s lifespan.
- What is the voltage? For RVs it needs to be 10-30.
- Is the light made for RV use? Is it compatible with RV power outlets?
11. Decorative Interior LED RV Lights
There are several types of LED interior decorative lights to spruce up your RV. The following are some of the better types I’ve come across.
a. Battery Operated LED Floor Lamps
Also available for tabletops, these will light up the corners in your RV and make it feel like home. They come in different styles and shapes and make for ideal reading. You need just four C batteries to operate and they’ve got a long lifespan. Many are rechargeable so they last longer.
b. Waterproof LED Light Strips
It’s a good idea to use waterproof LED strips to install lights. They come in assorted colors and lengths to match your needs. These strips are available in packs and you can chop these large rolls into smaller ones to the appropriate length.LED light strips have adhesives so you don’t have to do any complicated set ups. They’re also flexible enough that you’ll be able to apply them on different areas of your RV. With the connectors on these devices you’ll be able to link several for brighter lights.
c. LED Step Lite
These are similar to LED strip lights, but these are more durable and designed specifically for the steps on your RV. Installation is easy since they utilize your RV’s exiting step. They’re easy to secure even if there’s no drilling to be done.LED step lites consume very little power so you can install several and it won’t cause a surge in your power bill. Installation is straightforward so you’ll know what to do right away.
d. Small Adhesive LED Lights
As you might expect, these LED lights are compact and can be installed on the steps. Some are waterproof and can be applied on different surfaces. Some have dimmer switches so you can customize the lighting as well.Small adhesive LED lights run on batteries so you don’t have to mess around with wires. Just stick the LED lights where you want it to go and they will light up the area. Even though they are small you can line up several of these for better illumination.
e. Under Cabinet LED Lights
There is no need to turn up all the kitchen lights if you’ve got under cabinet kitchen lights. These LED strip lights come in various styles, colors and sizes to suit your taste and preferences.These fixtures are perfect for RV kitchenettes plus they’re also effective guide lights. You can also set these up as guide lights between the bathroom and your bed, giving you more illumination at night.
f. Solar Ice Rocks
True to their name, these LED lights do resemble rocks and are often for exterior use. That should not stop you from using these in your RV of course. One of the best ways to use this is to charge it up in the daytime. When it’s night you bring them inside and you’ve got a unique set of indoor lights.
g. Fulcrum 30010-301 LED Battery
These are stick on top lights that put emphasis on functionality. As the name makes clear, you just stick these on and they’ll light things up. If there’s an area in your RV that needs lighting, i.e. cabinets, storage areas or closets, just stick these on.
h. Reading Lights LED 12 Volt
Want to relax and read a book? Just install one of these and you’ll have an easier time reading no matter the time of the day. Since these are LED you don’t have to worry abut replacing them right away.
12. Decorative Exterior LED RV Lights
These LED lights will brighten up your park RV at night especially when you’re parked.
a. Exterior LED Lights
By equipping your RV with LED exterior motion sensing lights, your RV and the surrounding area brightens up. This is an essential feature particularly if you’re in a new place. You can attach these on your RV and you’ll notice the improvement in lighting.
b. Christmas Comes Early
By experimenting with different types of LED string lights you can come up with some really cool designs. Use different colored lights on the awning, tables and the sides and you’ve got a Christmas tree. The fact that they’re available in different shapes, sizes and colors allows you to be more flexible. When it comes to flexibility and options, LED lighting is hard to match.
13. Tips + Lessons Learned After Updating Our RV Interior Lighting
The process of installing LED lights on your RV is easy enough, but there are steps you can take that will make it even simpler. Remember the following before you buy and install LED on your RV.
a. Measure, Measure, Measure
Get the exact dimensions of the LED light and how much space they’re going to take up. It might seem like overkill but this is an RV, not a house. You can install large LED lights at home and it won’t matter much, but RVs have smaller space and every inch counts.You can save yourself a lot of trouble by bringing your current light fixtures in the store so you’ll be able to match it with the LED there. Of course you can take note of the dimensions when you go shopping. The point is you must never take the size for granted as it makes a huge difference.
b. How Will You Use the Space?
Space is always at a premium on RVs so think about what type of LED bulbs you’re going to install. I mentioned several compact LED lights that you may consider as they don’t take a lot of room.
Some RVers like their LED bulbs exposed, but others don’t. Exposed LED bulbs are not dangerous per se, but there are risks especially if you’ve got kids. RV ceilings also aren’t that high so someone could bump onto it.If you’ve got exposed LED bulbs, be careful when you walk under them. Keep track of where they’re installed so if you move furniture or other stuff around it won’t reach the bulbs. In other words you need to be careful.
c. Consider the Bulbs
Think about the types of LED light bulbs you want to install. Consider the brightness, the size, installation process etc. Those LED lights you order have a return policy so you can try them first.If you’re not sure what type to get, you can always order several kinds and see which works best. Color temperatures, styles, shapes and specs differ, i.e. some are cool white or pure white. You can see the effect in the lighting store but it may look different once on your RV.
The lights on your RV plays a huge role in determining how comfortable you’ll be. Just as we want the best possible lighting in our homes, the same thing applies if you’re in an RV. Hopefully the ideas in this guide was able to help you out.