Many people grapple with the question of whether or not they should use candles. While they have many benefits, they are also significant fire hazards. Whether or not you choose to use candles in your home is up to you, but if you do use candles, there are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood of a house fire.
Here are six candle safety tips recommended by our fire damage restoration team at ICC.
Where you keep your unused candles is important for two main reasons. First, even unused candles should be kept out of reach of children. If a curious child finds a candle, he or she may try to light it. Second, haphazardly storing candles could potentially expose them to flammable chemicals. This could spell trouble when you attempt to light the candle.
The warning sticker may contain obvious information for the most part, but some warning stickers can be quite informative. For instance, some candles need the wick to be trimmed to a certain length before use or should only be burnt for so long before they need to be put out. This is valuable information you can get from the warning label.
This one is obvious enough, but it’s easy to forget that you have a candle burning and leave the house. If necessary, set an alarm on your phone to remind you about the candle if you’re worried about forgetting it is lit.
Placing candles next to flammable materials is a recipe for disaster. However, this mistake isn’t always as obvious as it seems. For instance, you may have clothes or rugs stored several feet below the candle. This could easily lead to a fire if the candle falls on the ground but it’s easy to only look horizontally for flammable materials next to a fire.
Trimming the wick is essential for candle safety, but many people neglect doing so. When lighting a new candle, you should trim everything but the top quarter inch of the wick. The reason for doing this is that it prevents the flame from going too far down the wick and shortens the lifespan of the candle. Additionally, it helps keep the candle from catching fire due to overextension. It also helps to use the right type of wick. The wicks used in votives or pillar candles will be much longer than those found on taper candles.
Lastly, don’t forget to put out the flame! If you are willing to accept the risk of burning a candle you must also be willing to accept the responsibility of remembering to put it out when you’re done with it. If you find it easy to forget.
If you choose to use candles, you don’t need to put yourself at unnecessary risk. At ICC, we hope you find the tips above helpful for responsibly using candles and preventing house fires.