Whether it’s your favorite restaurant or your master bathroom, ambiance counts. Candles can be an excellent way to set a warm, welcoming mood. Of course, they can also present a significant fire hazard. Here’s how to avoid ever having to type “fire damage contractors near me” into your preferred search engine.
When in Doubt, Put It Out
Just like sharks, the ocean, and toddlers, you should never turn your back on a lit candle. As a general rule, you should always be present — and awake — when candles are lit:
- Extinguish all candles before leaving the house. While it’s possible that Fido enjoys the smell of pumpkin spice as much as you do, there’s really no excuse to ever leave a candle burning when you’re out.
- Put candles out before they burn all the way down to the bottom. As a general rule, extinguish a candle in a jar or similarly enclosed container when 0.5 inches of wax remain. For candles that aren’t contained, discontinue use when the candle drops to 2 inches in height.
- Don’t leave candles burning overnight or use one as a nightlight. They may be calming, but it’s not 1612. If left unattended, they can turn a cozy December night into an emergency.
- Don’t leave candles unattended around children or pets. Both are known for their curiosity, and neither are known for their calmness and coordination.
Give Your Candles Some Space
Candles don’t do well in cramped spaces. They need room to glow. Exercise common sense when it comes to candle placement to avoid injury:
- Keep candles at least one foot away from flammable materials, such as curtains, furniture, bedding, and papers. The majority of candle-related fires start when a lit candle is stationed too close to something that easily burns.
- Avoid situating candles near air currents, such as those created by fans, vents, and drafts. Unexpected wind gusts can not only lead to candle flare-ups, but can also carry papers and other loose, flammable items into the line of fire. Literally.
- Keep candles a safe distance from each other, too. If you’re lighting multiple candles at once, leave at least 3 inches of space between them.
- Exercise personal caution when lighting candles. Secure any loose clothing or long hair.
Show Your Candles Some TLC
Candles may be a simple way to add ambiance to your home, but they do require some maintenance. Remember these five tips as you care for your candles:
- Light candles on flat, even, heat-resistant surfaces. Additionally, make sure the holder that a candle is in is sturdy and secure — and that it’s designed to hold candles.
- Trim your wicks. Long wicks can create an uneven burn and lead to dripping. Each time before you light a candle, cut the wick down to a height of approximately 0.25 inches, and be sure to dispose of the trimmings. Keep the candle’s surface free of debris.
- Don’t try to relocate a burning candle. Wait until the wax pool solidifies to move it.
- Read the fine print. Many candles have a manufacturer-suggested burning time detailed on the label. Don’t exceed these recommendations.
- Pay attention to how your candle burns. If it’s flickering or spitting out smoke, it’s probably not burning correctly. Put it out, let it cool completely, trim the wick down to 0.25 inches, relocate it, and try again.
Consider a Candle Alternative
You can skip virtually all of these steps and eliminate most worries by using a candle alternative. To achieve the same inviting glow, you might opt for the following:
- Electric candles: They look like candles, but they run on batteries, making them safe to leave on when you leave the room or nod off.
- Fairy lights: These inexpensive lights can be strung just about anywhere in order to achieve that cozy glow.
If your interest in candles is focused more on scent, you might consider the following options:
- Reed diffusers: They’re aesthetically pleasing and can disperse your favorite scent throughout the room without the risk of fire damage.
- Oil or wax warmers: As their names suggest, these two devices use heat to warm essential oils or wax, releasing their scent into the air.
While candles can add to virtually any room’s décor, they can also be dangerous. Remembering these safety tips or choosing a candle substitute can keep you safe and help you avoid a costly mishap. In the event that you do require the expertise of fire damage contractors, however, trust United Water Restoration Group to restore your home quickly and safely.