It’s trailer season! Many of us have a tough-as-nails, reliable older trailer that we have fondly kept up with new parts, including lights, when needed. But it’s getting harder to find the old incandescent bulbs, so can you mix LEDs with standard lights? We have the correct answer for you.
“Please check your trailer cables, wires, turn indicators, and lights to ensure they are hooked up properly; it can mean the difference between safety on a roadway or accidents and injuries.”
Do you remember years ago when you switched all your incandescents in your home to LEDs?
And do you recall the first winter when you couldn’t figure out why you had to turn up the heat because suddenly the room was colder?
Incandescent bulbs draw so much amperage that they throw out their own heat; up to 90% of their energy is emitted as heat. Baby’s incubators and animal pens use bulbs for these reasons.
A 100-watt bulb’s filament reaches temperatures of 4600℉ that can heat the glass body of the bulb to 150 – 250℉. Incandescent bulbs heat up a room, in fact, a 40-watt bulb will heat a room by one degree every hour.
Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) will not make a room even remotely warm, but conversely, using LED bulbs saves cooling/air conditioning costs during the summer.
LEDs have other benefits, especially for your trailer.
- A light emitting diode is the “size of a fleck of pepper” and emits light in many colours. A trailer light assembly may have multiple diodes, which can be a lifesaver if one of the diodes fails.
- LEDs send light in a specific direction that can benefit certain applications inside and outside your trailer.
- LEDs do last longer; three to five years should be expected. Plus, because your trailer may be used sporadically, that number could translate to a decade or more.
- As previously mentioned, LEDs throw off no heat and may be safer, reducing the possibility of combustion and burnt fingers if you need to change a light immediately.
- Regular bulbs lose their intensity before burning out. If consistent lighting matters to you, LEDs have the benefit of having the same intensity throughout their life.
Please see the Canadian Government page for more details concerning highway requirements for trailer lighting, reflectors, turn signals, and side markers legally required on all trailers.
You can have a mix of regular and LED lights on your trailer without having any concerns whatsoever.
Your older trailer is wired for the high amperage draw of incandescent lights. An LED bulb uses those same wires; it simply uses less amperage because it is a more efficiently developed bulb, so there is zero concern for your trailer wiring to power two types of lights..
Switching to LEDs is good news if you want to add more lights to your older trailer. Is it time for new wiring or wiring accessories?
LED bulbs are less resistive / more efficient, meaning they use less amperage. You have more amperage energy if you want to add more or different lights.
Read more in our article, How to Measure The Proper Size Trailer Axle to Buy.
Check your fuse panel for the maximum amperage capacity and keep track of the number of amps of each LED bulb so you don’t exceed its capacity. (Checking your fuse to see if it requires replacement if your trailer lights go out is a great first step to determining why they may not be working.)