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Candle Safety Tips for the Holidays

Christmas candles on rustic wooden table

There’s something peaceful about lighting a candle on a snowy winter day. Without the proper precautions though, a beautiful decoration could become the source of a house fire. Each year, around 8,200 homes are damaged by fires that were ignited by candles. The top three days for these incidents include New Year’s Day, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.

Follow these guidelines from the National Candle Association to enjoy your candles safely this holiday season.

Before Lighting a Candle

  • Trim the candle wick to one-quarter inch. While wick trimmers are available, scissors or nail clippers are also well-suited for the task.
  • Remove wick trimmings, matches, and other debris from the surface of the candle before lighting.
  • Place the candle in a holder if it didn’t already come in a jar. Select one that is designed for this use to ensure that it’s sturdy, heat-resistant, and large enough to contain drips of melted wax.
  • Set the candleholder on a stable, heat-resistant surface where children and pets can’t reach it.
  • Use a long match or utility lighter to light the candle.
  • Opt for a flashlight or battery-powered lantern instead of candles during a power outage.

While a Candle Burns

  • Never move a candle while it’s burning or shortly after blowing it out when the wax is still liquified.
  • Set lit candles at least three inches away from each other. This helps prevent the heat of one from melting another.
  • Keep loose clothing, long hair, drapes, furniture, paper, and other flammable items away from the candle flame.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. If you leave or go to sleep, blow it out first.
  • Avoid setting the candle in a place with too much airflow. Drafts or vents could cause the flame to flicker and grow, resulting in rapid burning, sooting, and excessive dripping.
  • Extinguish the candle if its flame rises too high or flickers repeatedly. Let the candle cool, trim the wick, and eliminate unwanted drafts before relighting.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on burn time. In general, candles shouldn’t burn longer than four hours. Let the wax cool for at least two hours before relighting.

When Extinguishing a Candle

  • Use a candle snuffer to prevent hot wax from splattering.
  • Never use water to douse a candle.
  • Don’t burn the candle all the way down. Blow it out when there are two inches of wax left, or one-half inch if the candle is in a container.
  • Make sure the candle is extinguished completely, and the wick is no longer glowing, before you leave the room.
  • If there’s debris in the melted wax, fish it out with a plastic tool before the candle cools for a clean burn next time.

If your home is damaged in a fire this winter, please call DKI Services at 877-533-0210. Our fire damage restoration services will help you recover quickly so you can enjoy the rest of the holiday season.