A candle is a type of fuel-burning device that has been around for centuries, and it’s one of the most popular ways to light up your home or office.
But candles can also be dangerous—and not just because they burn down to nothing in a matter of seconds.
The wax inside some candles can melt when exposed to extreme heat, which can cause them to explode.
And if you have an open flame near a candle, you could get burned by the hot wax. So how does this happen? In this article, you will find out!
How Do Candles Work?
Candles are made from wax, which is melted fat. Some types of wax are paraffin, beeswax, soybean oil, palm oil, and coconut oil.
Wax comes in many different colors, but white is the most common.
Candlemakers use these fats to create candles. And as part of this process they insert wicks, which are long pieces of fiber that hold the candle at its base.
When the candle burns, the wick absorbs some of the wax and melts it into a liquid form that drips back down onto the candle.
This process creates beautiful patterns on the sides of a candle.
There are two main types of candles: pillar and votive. Pillar candles mainly have a cylinder-like shape, but can be made in many different heights and widths. They are tall and wide quite often and can be used without containers.
Votive candles are shorter than pillars. They have a narrower base that widens towards the top and are used with containers because they generally melt completely. Both types of candles come in various sizes and shapes.
You can buy pillar candles in stores, online, and even at craft fairs. These candles are often used as centerpieces or table decorations.
Most people prefer pillar candles to votives because they look more elegant and make a statement.
Votives are great for lighting small areas like tables, nightstands, and desks.
What Causes Candles To Explode?
When a candle burns, it releases large amounts of heat. If there isn't enough ventilation, the heat can build up quickly and cause the candle to overheat.
The wax becomes too soft and liquefies, causing it to expand. As the wax expands, it pushes against the sides of the container.
Eventually, the pressure builds up so much that the container explodes. The temperature of a candle can affect whether it will blow up.
A hotter candle will release more heat and burn faster. That means less time to ventilate the room before the explosion happens.
The size of the container also plays a role in whether a candle blows up. Smaller containers are easier to blow up than larger ones.
Larger containers take longer to heat up, giving you more time to escape.
If you're using a candle holder, the design of the container may also play a part in whether a candle blows up.
For example, a glass jar is more likely to break than a ceramic dish.
Other factors can contribute to explosions, such as the type of wax used in a candle, how old the candle is, and where the candle was stored.
If You Get Burned By A Burning Candle, What Can You Do?
If you're injured by a burning candle, call 911 immediately. Don't touch the area directly around your wound. Instead, cover the area with a clean cloth or piece of paper towel and wait for the professionals to arrive in order to have it treated properly.
Don't go near any open flame until you've been treated by medical personnel.
How Do I Keep My Home Safe From Fire?
Fire safety starts with prevention. Make sure all flammable items are properly disposed of.
Store matches and lighters away from children, pets, and other combustible materials.
Make sure your home has working smoke detectors. Install them in every bedroom and outside each sleeping area. Test them regularly to ensure that they work properly.
Keep candles away from anything that could catch fire. Never leave candles unattended while burning.
Also keep candles away from curtains, furniture, carpeting, drapery, and rugs.
Keep your home well-ventilated. Open windows and doors during warm weather to allow air to circulate freely. This helps prevent fires from spreading.
Use non-flammable cleaning products when cleaning your house and avoid using water on wood floors.
How To Prevent A Candle From Starting A Fire/Exploding
A candle won't explode if you follow these simple guidelines:
- Use only approved candle wicks. They should be made of cotton or hemp. Avoid wicks made of nylon or polyester.
- Always use caution when handling candles. Never hold a lit candle in your hand. Hold it by its base instead. And never place a lit candle on an unsecured surface.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches from fabrics, carpets, drapes, and other combustibles.
- Keep candles away from children, pets, and other people who might get burned by them.
- Never light a candle inside a closed cupboard or cabinet.
- Turn off the power source for any electrical appliances that aren't being used.
- If you have a fireplace, make sure there is no draft coming through the chimney.
- Keep candles out of the reach of children.
- When not in use, store candles upright in a cool, dry location.
Are There Other Items That Are Better Than Candles?
Of course! Here are some alternatives to consider:
- Incense. Incense burns cleaner than most candles and doesn’t produce harmful fumes.
- Oil lamps. These provide soft lighting without producing heat.
- Glow sticks. These are perfect for camping trips and parties.
- Flashlights. These are great for reading, playing games, and finding things in dark places.
As with any flammable object, it is important to remember fire safety techniques.
Remember to never leave your candles unattended and if you feel like your candles are in danger of exploding, use the tips we’ve spoken about here to prevent a potential accident.
Exploding candles are not a common occurrence though, so don’t feel like you can never use them again…Just remember to stay vigilant!