Tea lights are a fantastic type of candle that you can use throughout your home as decoration, to make the air smell more pleasant and for many other purposes. A common question if you’ve never had tea lights in your house before is, “do tea lights get hot?” So, in this article, I’m going to answer that question and more!
Regular tea lights that you might purchase at a dollar store will get hot when you light them. Like any other type of candle, tea lights are made of wax and burn when you light the wick on fire. However, there are many tea light alternatives that don’t get hot, such as LED-powered tea lights.
Tea lights giving off too much heat is a big concern for a lot of people. Especially if you’re placing your tea lights on surfaces that you don’t want to get ruined, it is essential to do your research and make sure your tea lights aren’t going to cause a fire.
In this article, I’ll take a closer look at how tea lights work so that you can have a full understanding of if and why tea lights get hot. We’ll also go over some of the finer details such as how much heat you can expect your tea light to put off, questions about tea lights starting fires, and so much more.
Let’s get right into it!
Do Regular Wax Tea Lights Get Hot?
The regular wax tea lights that you can purchase at almost any store will get hot if you light them.
As we were probably all taught as a kid, fire is inherently scorching hot. When you light a tea light, you are essentially putting a super hot element (fire) into contact with your candle, and it naturally will heat up quite a bit.
Tea lights, and pretty much all candles, are relatively simple in design, and it is pretty easy to understand how they work. When you light a candle’s wick, the flame’s heat turns a small amount of wax from the candle into fuel. After you initially light a candle, it continues to melt and vaporize the wax that the candle is made of and use it for energy. The candle is then able to maintain a constant flame until the fuel (wax) runs out.
Now that we know a little more about how wax tea lights work and maintain a flame, it should be clearer why they get hot.
Not all candles do this, but in the case of tea lights, they can turn all of their wax into liquid form and continue to maintain a flame. As long as there is still wax in any way, tea lights can use it as fuel. As you can imagine, wax in its liquid form is scorching hot, adding to how hot the tea light gets overall.
Read our full article on Best Tea Light Candles.
Do Electric Tea Lights Get Hot?
Another type of tea light that is an excellent alternative to the regular wax ones is an electric tea light. One of the many great things about them is that they don’t usually get hot.
Much like regular tea lights, electric tea lights are super simple in design. They consist of a small battery attached to a LED, which is all housed in a candle-shaped container to make it look as close to a real tea light as possible.
LED, which is short for light-emitting diode, is the type of light used in most electric tea lights. LEDs are known to stay pretty cool and have a long battery life, which means you won’t have to worry about your electric tea light getting too hot or running out of battery super often. If you run an LED for a super long time, they can get slightly warm, but they won’t get very hot.
Since a small battery and an LED typically power electric tea lights, there is no significant heat source that could cause your tea light to heat up.
Overall, electric tea lights will not get hot in the slightest. As I mentioned before, if you run an LED for extended periods, it could get hot, but it shouldn’t be a concern because LEDs will get slightly warm at most.
Read our full article on Do Flameless Candles Get Hot.
How Much Heat Do Tea Lights Give Off?
Now that we’ve covered why and how tea lights emit heat, you might be wondering, “how much heat do tea lights actually give off?”
At this point, I could dive into a bunch of calculations that I don’t even fully understand to tell you PRECISELY how much heat a tea light gives off, but that would probably bore both of us. So, let’s get into a more everyday-person friendly answer to this common question.
Regular Wax Tea Lights:
A regular-sized tea light is a pretty small candle, especially when you compare it to other types of candles. Since the flame on a tea light is small, it will inherently produce less heat than a candle with a larger flame.
However, you should probably take a step back and remember that fire fuels a tea light, and fire alone is SUPER HOT.
“The flame of a typical candle has an outer core that burns at close to 1,400 °C (about 2,500 °F) while the core of the flame burns at 800 °C (1,450 °F).”Source: Sciencing.com
So, while a tea light might not produce too much heat compared to larger heat sources, it is still scorching hot and can give off quite a bit of heat if you are close to it.
Electric Tea Lights:
Electric tea lights are known to NOT produce much heat at all.
As I mentioned earlier, LEDs can become slightly warm if they are manufactured somewhat off or if you leave them on for a long time. The slight warmth that you might experience coming from your electric tea light is very insignificant and shouldn’t affect anything.
LEDs are commonly positioned upright in an electric tea light, which adds to their ability to disperse heat and stay cool to the touch. This design choice, combined with all of the other attributes of LEDs, makes electric tea lights stay pretty cool and not put off any significant amount of heat.
Can Tea Lights Cause a Fire When They Get Hot?
One of the frequent reasons why someone would want to look into how much heat tea lights put off is because they are concerned that they might catch something nearby on fire.
And truth be told, this is a real possibility if you are lighting candles in your home, or almost anywhere. You have to be vigilant and take the necessary precautions to try your best to prevent accidents. According to the National Fire Protection Association, over 80 people die on average because of candle-related fires every year.
Can Wax Tea Lights Cause Fires?
Regular wax tea lights can start fires.
After all, tea lights are often exposed flames that pose a significant risk because you could knock them over or otherwise catch nearby objects on fire. Like any other type of candle with a real flame, tea lights should be lit with caution and always watched while lit.
Beyond just the open flame aspect of wax tea lights, the actual heat put off by them is usually not enough to start a fire all on its own. So, while you should be careful around the open flame of a tea light, the heat put off by the flame is not something you have to worry about.
Can Electric Tea Lights Cause Fires?
As I’ve mentioned before, the heat put off by electric tea lights is pretty close to zero, so the chances of them starting a fire are minimal. Of course, there are probably those freak accidents, but the far majority of the time, there is zero fire risk from an unaltered LED tea light.