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5 Candle Safety Tips

Staff Writer · Feb 26, 2010

Candle safety is a main concern when using candles for decoration. While providing light, ambiance and sometimes fragrance, the open flame means candles need to be treated cautiously. Awareness of the need to consider safety when decorating with candles will reduce any possible problems or damage.

1. Open Space

First and foremost, when using candles make sure that the flame is not underneath or next to any other object. The flame should be surrounded by open space to ensure that no other item will catch on fire. Remember that a candle’s flame shifts with breezes or other movements in the air, so leave ample surrounding space to accommodate this action. The same rule applies if the candle is used outside.

2. Proper Base Support

An often overlooked area of the candle is its base. As the candle burns the bottom most likely will become hot, possibly ruining your furniture. A candle holder, glass dish or other foundation will deflect this heat, but may become scarred itself. If the candle does not have its own specially designed base, such as a glass container, you may need to purchase one or find a heat-proof object to put underneath.

3. Location Is Not Everything

Remember that while an unlit candle may look wonderful in a certain area, that space may not be the best for a lit candle. You may need to move the candle to light it. Moving the candle is also a great way to spread its scent, if any, around the room.

4. Check the Wick

Check the candle’s wick and test it for and anticipated burn time. This will let you know when it will become unsafe to use the candle further and you should throw the candle away. Additionally, keep the wick trimmed to the proper length. The appropriate wick length should also be included on the candle’s information. A trimmed wick will allow for longer burn time and reduce the chance of the flame becoming too big and posing a larger fire hazard. Candle stores will have special wick trimmers or you can use scissors for the task.

5. Keep a Close Watch

Never leave a candle to burn unattended. Do not leave a candle burning while you are away from the house or in a high-traffic area where there is a high chance that it will be knocked over. Always fully extinguish a candle, making sure there wick is completely cool before leaving it alone or putting it in the trash can. This same rule applies for outdoor candles. To prevent prolonged smoking, use a candle snuffer, which should be available for purchase at any candle or home decorating store.

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