We love our candles! Their life-like scents are great Christmas gifts for those hard-to-buy-for friends and family. They light a room, warm a mood, and the scent makes you smile. As much as we would love to have candles light every room of the house, especially during these darkest days of the year, be careful with those candles!
Over the weekend, a Toledo area family’s house caught fire and sustained extensive damage throughout the house. The cause? A candle left burning in a bedroom. Christmas presents were destroyed; toys, books, food, clothes, towels, mattresses, TVs … all damaged beyond repair because of a simple candle left burning.
Fact is, candle fires account for an average of 42 calls a day for a typical fire department. Approximately one-third of candle fires start in a bedroom and 30 percent of these fires resulted in death. Surprising? Maybe, but true all the same. Read on for some basic facts and tips for enjoying candles safely.
Candles in glass containers are meant to burn three to four hours at a time. If left lit longer, the glass will get hotter and hotter as it burns. The glass will crack under intense heat, and hot wax will be free to flow wherever it wants. If the wick becomes unstable, the flame gets too large and your candle will start to smoke.
Replace the candle if it’s two inches tall or less. Don’t let a candle burn too close to the holder. Also make sure that the candle holder is on a durable heat-resistant surface.
The area around your candle should be free of clutter…any random spark could light up nearby curtains, newspaper, or magazines, and suddenly your room is on fire.
Light candles only in well-ventilated rooms. Likewise, keep burning candles away from drafts and ceiling fans to prevent flame flare-ups, sooting, and rapid burning.
Buy higher quality candles. Candles that feel soft and greasy tend to burn more smoke.
Never leave a burning candle unattended. Fire takes mere seconds to spread and soon it’s out of your control.
If the flame becomes too high or if the candle smokes or flickers, the candle isn’t burning properly. Extinguish the candle, cool it, trim the wick, then check for drafts before relighting.
Want more information? Check out these resources:
December is the peak time of year for home candle fires, so don’t be a statistic! Candles can be enjoyed safely…just be mindful of these tips and you can enjoy the scents, ambiance, and warmth that candles bring!