Four Innocent & Dangerous Ways Candles are Used
It's LIT! Literally! As of 2015, candles are reported to be used in 7 out of 10 U.S. households.
Is your household one of them?
It is no secret that a good candle burning experience is to die for- not literally though. Candles can serve as a potential fire hazard despite the innocent service they provide.
Besides giving off aroma and creating light for your living spaces, believe it or not, these beautiful fragrance emitters may just have a potential danger element simply because of careless or inappropriate use.
Here are four ways candles are used innocently but dangerously:
Using a Candle as a Night Light
We all know that the desirable tranquil sensation of a candle is almost undeniable for people who need a little help falling asleep.
This technique is used for ridding the frustration that comes with finding it hard to relax and drift off- no harm, right? Think again! Leaving a burning candle unattended is a big no, no, you should always aim to keep a burning candle in sight.
After all, you would not want the disturbance of an outraged flame to interrupt the sleep you worked super hard to attain.
Burning a Candle All the Way Down
Are you guilty of burning your candle all the way down because you can't get enough of the true to life scents it releases? This may seem like a great idea now, since it's only human nature to want the most out of your products, especially for those must-have minor obsessions. However, it is important that you do not let a candle burn out or burn for more than 4 hours at a time. It is recommended to leave two inches of wax for a margin of safety.
Failure to do so may cause your candle to smoke.
I don't know about you but when smoke gets trapped in drapes and other upholstery it is the most annoying and unpleasant thing ever! This doesn't give you the go ahead to extinguish a candle with water- never use water to extinguish a candle. Water can cause the hot wax to splatter. A candle snuffer is the best way to extinguish a candle- thank me later.
Photo credit: Cheatsheet.com
Burning a Candle in Close Proximity to Flammable Material
You might want to re-evaluate where you put your candle and the reasons you chose to place it there in the first place. Seeing what you may think is the perfect spot in your home to set your candle- whether because of aesthetic purposes, convenience or simply because it's your favorite area in a room (personal preference) it just may contain highly flammable materials. So, take into consideration the drapes, furniture, books and upholstery that are present in that specific area to avoid fire outbursts and prospective casualties. In this case, you might find yourself sacrificing style for safety but better safe than sorry!
Burning Candles in a 'tight' room
There's nothing wrong with having a lit candle in a small room just as long as the room is well ventilated.
While there's a debate about toxicity in some candles, there are chemicals commonly found in the fragrances used in candles as well as some waxes that have been said to negatively impact the nervous system and/or have cancer causing effects.
Closed in spaces make candle aromas more concentrated, so those candle properties can take a longer time to escape the room, especially one with little to no windows. This will cause you to breathe in higher concentrates of these aromas and petro products.
Paraffin candles are more of a concern for most in this area, so natural candles are a good option to try, if you haven't already.
Hopefully, I haven't scared you up to this point. Using candles can be very safe, when they're used properly. So, with that being said, let me just reinforce how unalarming candles can be when you are knowledgeable about their functionality.
Remember, safety first! The National Candle Association urges consumers to always follow the basic rules of fire safety when burning candles. They suggest that 85% of candle fires could be avoided if candle users practiced these three basic safety protocols, namely:
- Never leave a burning candle unattended.
- Never burn a candle on or near anything that might catch fire.
- Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.
Despite that, is safely burning a candle the only thing that determines how safe a candle is?
It wouldn't be fair to only consider these factors as it relates to candle safety standards. A candle is as safe as its content and quality. People are expected to use great care and caution when handling products that contain toxic chemicals.
One-way candle users can show great care and caution is by reading the label. Hazard symbols can be found on candle labels globally. That's why it is key for candle users to understand candle safety. Most cautionary labels include manufacturer instructions to assist in burning a candle correctly. You can usually find that label on the underside of your candle jar or box. So, always beware of purchasing a candle that doesn’t carry a fire-safety label.
Testing of Candles
Testing your candle is encouraged- with the three basic safety protocols in mind of course.
Along with the basic protocols there are a few important terms to know as well. They are flame height and secondary ignition.
Flame height is the average height of flames when measured vertically while secondary ignition occurs when the wick is too long, causing it to break off and still continues to burn.
Now that that's out of the way. For a candle to be considered safe, it has to meet a certain standard requirement. A couple of these requirements are a flame height not exceeding 3 inches and a tilt stability that withstands a 10-degree tilt with candle.
Common testing failures include a flame height exceeding 3 inches, secondary ignition and plastic containers that don’t meet specific requirements. If the wrong wick is installed into the candle (too long) this can cause an excessive flame height. Remember, a candle is a system so it's not fully functional if all elements are not working together properly. That requires plenty of testing.
In The End
Indulging in the irresistible fragrance a candle has to offer is not the end all and be all for candle users, instead it is important to understand how to handle them safely - from before lighting, while burning to when extinguishing. This way candle users will have a great candle experience.
If it's one thing you should know, it is that there is no harm in gathering knowledge. Candle consumers are expected to educate and inform themselves on candle basics, safety standards, and testing of candle products. This is a must!
If you learned a little from this post, or you found any part of it helpful, please leave us a comment below. Our team would love to hear from you. Meanwhile, here's a little romantic, soothing candles to get you drowsy, and guess what, the burning candles are completely safe!
Until next time.