In today’s modern society candles are linked with positive mood, calmness and romance. The subtle light that candles provide is a marvelous relief from electric light and can set the stage for quiet intimate conversations with close friends or enhance a romantic dinner or evening. The flickering flame of a candle or fire always is fascinating with ever-changing dynamics that bring feelings of peace and calm.
Since there are just so many ways to incorporate the positive effects of candles into the home, it’s no surprise that burning candles as an everyday activity has gained tremendously in popularity. When you burn candles in your own home, it’s important to keep in mind that the small and fascinating flickering candle flame is still fire and should be treated with respect and care.
Basic Candle Safety
These guidelines reflect common sense and good ordinary household practices:
· Keep burning candles away from children and pets.
· Don’t place a burning candle near anything that could catch on fire such as curtains, lampshades and paper products.
· Don’t leave a candle unattended. It’s easy to leave the room “just for a second” and get distracted by a phone call or child’s demand. The “second” turns into half an hour and you’ve left the candle unattended. Instead, take a second to extinguish the candles before you leave the room.
Monitoring a Burning Candle
Simply remaining in the room with a burning candle isn’t quite enough to maintain candle safety. Check your burning candle periodically; look for a steady and calm flame which means the candle is burning properly. Erratic flickering or smoking indicates that the candle is either getting too much air possibly from a draft or not enough air.
It’s important to keep the candle away from drafts. Drafts can come from places you might not think about, for example, your ceiling fan or a heating duct. Drafts are dangerous because candles will burn unevenly and can cause a “flare up” which is also called a leaping flame. The flame can leap somewhere you don’t intend it to be.
On the other hand, make sure to burn the candle in a well-ventilated room so the candle residue of carbon dioxide doesn’t build up in the air of the room.
Monitor the candle’s progress periodically; don’t burn a candle longer than the manufacturer recommends. You want to leave 1/2 inch of wax in a containerized candle or 2 inches of length for other candles. You don’t want the flame to reach the container or the candle holder and possibly overheat it and the surface below it.
Extinguishing a Candle
Have you ever vigorously blown out a pillar candle only to watch the hot wax spatter? While blowing out a candle does work, it’s safer to use a candle snuffer. This tool was designed for the job centuries ago when everyone burned candles. Be sure that the candle is completely extinguished before you leave it.
Before Burning a Candle
There’s a normal tendency to unwrap a candle and use it or to simply re-light a candle that was used before. But any time you’re ready to light a candle, be sure to trim the wick to just ¼ inch with some scissors. Why? The wick is what controls the release of wax as the candle burns, so if the wick is crooked or too long the candle doesn’t burn properly.
You also want to use a proper candle holder that is well-built and resistant to heat. The candle holder should have a large enough dish for collecting melted wax. If, instead, you are burning a candle that’s in a glass container, make certain to place it on a heat-resistant surface. Don’t put the match in the wax and remove any other litter from around the wick before lighting your candle.
Once you understand these easy safety tips, why not use candles in your home every day? Don’t think about candles as a luxury item – candles are a necessity for their soothing effects in this hectic and fast-paced world.