When you use a candle to freshen up the scent in your home, it’s reasonable to worry about having an open flame that could cause a fire. A candle warmer seems much safer. But is it safe enough?
How long can a candle warmer stay on? Depending on the manufacturer of the candle warmer, you can safely leave one on for up to 10 hours. The length of time will depend on the strength of the heat and the model you are using. Many candles will lose their scent after 4-5 hours on the warmer, so you may be turning it off sooner to replace the candle.
When purchasing a candle warmer, you should always look at the ETL Safety Rating to be sure of its performance, safety levels, and any warnings that you should be aware of. Understanding how these warmers work and researching their safety guidelines will help you fill up your home with festive scents, while not having to worry about causing a fire.
Candle Warmers and Safety
Finding the best ways to diffuse the air with our favorite scents, while remaining safe, is an important question. With many different essential oils, diffusers, and plug-in products, sometimes the candle is left behind. But there is something about the warmth and scent that a candle brings into your home that differentiates itself from the rest.
The candle warmer poses a great way of getting to use your favorite candles but in a safer manner. This is not to say that they should be plugged in and used 24/7. But they can be a safer way to keep those scents going with less worry.
There are a few things you should still be conscious of when it comes to safety and candle warmers:
This is the biggest concern for safety with candle warmers. Most standard candle warmers will use a soft halogen bulb with a lower wattage around 25 watts. You can typically opt for warmer styles and models under most brands. These warmer styles are made from ceramic dishes, crocks, hotplates, lanterns, or plug-ins.
The warmer the style, the more you want to be aware of the safety features in it. Leaving these on for long periods should be safe, but it’s okay to be extra cautious. We sometimes compare it to a straightening iron. Even though it is designed to stay hot for a long time, you are still extra cautious. Nothing wrong with that.
You can help reduce the risk of fire by making sure there is nothing else around the candle warmer. If it is surrounded by anything that will hold in the heat or block airflow, it could result in an overheated candle warmer.
- Electrical Wire Damage
As with any electrical unit, you will want to be sure the wires are always in good shape and have no damage. A new candle warmer should have no issues with this. But if you have been using it for a long time, or maybe you found a used one at a garage sale – you should always inspect the cord to be sure there is no damage.
- Water Spills Causing Electric Shock
Water is the last thing we normally think of as dangerous when it comes to candles. We think the opposite. But with your candle warmer, water presents danger—and not of your candle going out. Just like you don’t want to place it around things that will hold in the heat for fear of overheating, you don’t want it anywhere near a sink or water source.
Having candles burning in the kitchen has always been a favorite location for me in my home. But with a warmer, I keep them further away on the counter or the kitchen table so it is nowhere near where they may be water splashing from dishes.
Benefits of Candle Warmers
The big benefit is, of course, not having to worry about the open flame. Even if you shouldn’t leave a candle warmer on for days at a time, it is still far easier and safer than an open flame candle that you wouldn’t even want to leave your house for a short period while it is still lit.
- If You Have Pets
I don’t know about you, but in my experience, cats love to check out a candle every time someone lights one. Maybe it’s the heat or the way the light flickers—the cats I’ve known find candles fascinating. Dogs don’t find them as interesting, but there’s plenty of things they find worthy enough to jump on a couch or dive under a table, and before you know it, there’s a candle knocked over.
Bottom line—candles must be watched carefully if you have a four-legged pet that does not live in a cage.
Candle warmers will take the element of danger out of the equation. You still shouldn’t encourage your pets to get too close to the ceramic plate models or anything that could still hurt them to touch. Many will be hot by the time you go to turn it off or replace the candle. But the fear of them starting an actual fire will greatly subside with a candle warmer rather than a flame.
- Use for an Office or Public Space
Many offices will not allow burning candles on your desk for obvious reasons. But most will not have an issue with a candle warmer if you unplug it every night before you leave. They won’t appreciate paying extra electricity every night just so your desk can smell like pumpkin spice in the morning. But if you’re diligent about unplugging and it and being aware of any safety issues it could cause, most offices will be okay with this.
- Dorms or Apartments That do Not Allow Candles
Similar to the office space, I have lived in many apartments that state in the lease that you are not allowed to burn candles. I can’t imagine this is always followed to a T. But a great way to get around it, while still following the rules, is to use a candle warmer. Be sure to check the language of your lease, but many will only cite a burning candle and any form of an open flame.
How Long Will a Candle Last When Using a Warmer?
While you may be able to leave the warmer running for hours on end, you will still have questions regarding how long the candle itself will last. You will typically go through candles quicker on warmers, but only because you use them more.
They will burn off at roughly the same rate as a wick candle would. If you opt for a warmer model, they may burn slightly faster. The main difference is that the warmer doesn’t melt the wax the same way the flame does.
True to its name – the candle warmer only warms the wax. By warming it, it dispenses the scent into the air rather than burning the wax down. You will know the candle is done once the scent dies out. The candle will emit less and less scent until it is scentless.
Fun Fact: Using a warmer will typically release stronger scents because the wax is not melting away. It’s almost as if using the warmer is like a booster for the scent within the candle.
Getting the Most out of Your Candle Warmer
As you monitor your usage, place the candle warmer in a safe area, and follow any safety instructions from the manufacturer. This way you can safely fill your house with pumpkin spice or whatever scents you wish to use.