Why Do Candles Flicker? (3 Reasons And How To Prevent)


It can be a bit odd to see a candle flicker when there is no wind. I was sitting on the couch when this very thing happened, which instantly made me wonder what it is that makes candles flicker. If there is no draft, what does this?

Candles flicker for a variety of reasons. Whether we realize it or not, the air is in constant motion, even if it is so small that we cannot feel it. The area not being well ventilated can result in too little air, which can also make a candle flicker. 

There are several things that you need to keep in mind regarding candles flickering, such as the causes, and what can happen if candles continue to flicker.

Why Do Candles Flicker

Causes Of Candle Flickering

Wind and air movement are the most common reasons that candles flicker, there are several other things that can result in candles flickering. Everything from the environment to the candle itself can make it flicker.

The Wick Is Too Large

Those that make homemade candles will typically experience this problem when they first begin to make candles. Large wicks are designed for larger candles. If they are used on smaller candles, it will make the candle flicker more. Most candle makers find that using a smaller wick solves this problem. Remember that if the wick is too small, it will not reach the edge of the candle, resulting in tunneling.

Too Much Air

If the room has a draft anywhere, even if it is not pointed directly at the candle, it can cause the candle to flicker. This is commonly seen in rooms that have air conditioners or fans, which both result in a drastic increase of how fast the air is circulating in the room. Drafty windows are another common culprit. During the colder months, the furnace kicking on and off can cause the candle flickering as well. If possible place candles as far away from drafts as possible.

Wax Impurities

This is a common cause behind a flickering flame. When there are impurities in the wax, such as soot or parts of the wick that has fallen into the wax, it can affect how the candle burns. When the wax melts, it travels through the wick to help feed the flame. If there are other things in the wax, it can and will affect how stable the flame is. Make sure to trim and properly dispose of the wick as it gets burnt, and avoid getting common things like dust in your candle. A lid for the candle can be helpful in keeping the wax clean.

What Happens When Candles Flicker?

While it may seem like a minor annoyance to have the flame consistently flicker, there are several other things that can happen as well. Understanding what could happen if your candle does not burn properly can help you avoid dangerous situations.

Less Relaxation

One of the main purposes behind candles is to relax. When a candle flickers, it can instantly kill the mood. If you have several candles that are flickering, it can actually make you more stressed, defeating the purpose of the candles in the first place.

Dangerously High Burning

When candles flicker continuously, the flame can get significantly higher than it would otherwise. This can be dangerous depending on where the candle is placed. If the candle is sitting near the fabric, such as by curtains, they could catch fire. Candles sitting close to the wall can also pose a fire hazard. Make sure to never leave candles unattended to keep everyone in the household safe.

The Candle Burns Quicker

When candles have a flame that flickers, it often results in the flame burning higher. The end result is that more heat is produced, which makes the candle burn at a quicker rate. If you find that your candle is flickering, you can expect it to be gone much quicker if you do not solve the issue.

How To Prevent Candle Flickering

If you find that your candle is flickering at an alarming rate, or even that it kills the mood, there are certain steps you can take to prevent this from happening. First, you must determine what is causing the candle to flicker. If you can’t seem to put your finger on it, try these tips to see if they help.

Opt For A Smaller Wick

If you enjoy making your own candles, switch the wick out for a smaller one in the next batch. Some candle makers report that the wick turns out too small, resulting in tunneling, though. A few trial and error attempts will help you find the perfect-sized wick.

Relocate The Candle

If there is too much or too little air, you might not feel it. Simply relocate the candle to a different room or a different place in the room. Then, light the candle to see if the flickering continues. If it immediately resumes, airflow is more than likely not the problem.

Clean The Candle Before Burning

Dust and soot can wind up on the top layer of wax. Candles without lids on them can naturally accrue a fine layer of dust if they are not used for an extended period of time. They can also get dust in them from dusting around them. Cleaning around the candle might result in dirt sitting on top of the wax as well.

Cleaning the candle before lighting it can instantly eliminate dirt and dust on top of the wax. This will prevent it from settling in the wax as it burns. To do this, simply take a washcloth and wipe the candle clean before lighting it.

Trim The Wicks

Because the wick can be too long and cause flickering, it can be helpful to trim the wicks regularly. Before burning a candle, make sure that there is no burnt wick left from the last time it was burned. The wick should also be about ¼ or ½ inch long. If it is longer, it can cause flickering.

Safety Precautions

If you have candles, it is important to take safety precautions in case you have to deal with a flickering candle. This can ensure that everyone in the home is safe while you enjoy your candle.

Do Not Leave Candles Unattended

While burning your candles, do not leave them unattended. Children or pets can accidentally knock them over, starting a fire. They can also catch curtains or other things on fire. If you have to leave the room while a candle is lit, make sure that you blow it out or return to the room quickly.

Do Not Place Candles Near Fire Hazards

If flames start to burn higher while flickering, they can easily catch nearby things on fire. To prevent this, do not sit candles near fire hazards, even if the flame is low. Avoid sitting them on flammable surfaces, next to curtains or other fabric, and too close to walls.

There are several reasons that could be behind the candle flickering. To avoid the fire hazard that comes with it, make your candle last longer, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere that candles can provide, try these tips and tricks to prevent candle flickering.

gege

Welcome. My name is Gege. I am a professional freelance lifestyle writer. Over 1.5 million fans take my lifestyle advice and use products from my recommendations.

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