Candles are important tools that have been around for quite some time. We’re talking several thousands of years. In ancient times, they were one of the fewest sources of indoor illumination across the world. Made solely with wax and wick, candles have maintained a basic simplicity in mechanism and design for millennia. As a matter of fact, almost the same materials that were used in making candles thousands of years ago are still in use today. However, a lot of knowledge about the proper usage of candles has been lost over the course of time.
IS THERE A WAY TO BURN CANDLES CORRECTLY?
There used to be a lot of knowledge and information about candles and how they should be but sometimes during the 19th century, the electric light bulb was invented and commercialized. This gradual, yet irreversible, shift from the popular use of candles to the usage of electricity and the electric light bulb in the field of illumination was mainly because people’s demand for illumination far exceeded the capacity of candles. Nevertheless, the world is witnessing a surge in the use of candles, mostly because the use of candles in aromatherapy is creating an increased demand for candles globally (especially scented candles).
Scented candles are candles to which fragrance and aroma have been added in the form of perfumes, during the candle making process. Usually, the perfumes – which are usually plant based or some form of plant extract – are added into the candle while it is in its melted form; then, the wax-perfume mixture is usually stirred well in order to make the scent spread evenly in the candle.
Yet, despite this increased popularity of candles, many people do not know how to burn candle correctly or that there is a right way to burn candles correctly.
There are several steps involved in burning a candle correctly, and they include the following:
- Trimming the wick
The first thing to do when you buy a new candle is not to set it up, it is to trim the wick. Usually, when the wick of a candle is too long, it usually leads to the candle flame being too much and burning too hot. Also, it allows the candle to burn faster and generate a lot of soot while it is burning. Also, it may increase the risk of tunneling; a process in which the candle burns down at a much faster rate at its centermost part (where the candle flame is usually at hottest), leaving the sides to melt at a much slower rate. Tunneling is not a good thing, as it allows the candle to be exhausted at a much faster rate than normal. Also, it leads to wastage of candle wax at the sides of the candle.
There are proper ways to trimming a candle’s wick and this involves using a pair of scissors to cut down the wick to about ¼ of an inch or 1/8 of an inch.
Trimming should also be done every time the candle is used, at the end of every candle burning session, so that the candle can be in good condition the next time it is lit; doing this continuously will also enable the candle to last for a very long time.
- Keep the candle away from strong wind
Strong wind affects the candle and prevents it from burning well. When a candle is placed in the line of strong wind, the angle at the flame burns may change and then, this may lead to tunneling. Also, when wind is too strong, the candle flame might die outright, which will definitely ruin the whole candle-burning experience. This is why candles should not be placed in places like window sills or right beside a fan or air conditioner.
It should be noted that air and good ventilation are very important to the proper burning of a candle. This is because no candle can burn in the absence of air, as oxygen is very important to the combustion process by which any fire – no matter how small e.g. candle flame – is ignited. Therefore, no candle can burn in a vacuum or where there is no supply of oxygen. Good ventilation is also important due to the fact that when candles burn, they emit gases which can cause problems in large quantities. For instance, many candles tend to produce some measure of soot when they burn. This soot can get on surfaces in the room where the candle is burning, after settling. However, other gases emitted by the candle can also buildup and trigger symptoms of respiratory illnesses such as asthma. Therefore, while too much wind would be bad for the candle, cross ventilation must be put in place to allow the emission of the gases released by the candle while it is burning.
- Setting the candle down in one location
Candles burn better when they are left in one position. Simply put, candles should not be moved around a lot when they are burning. And if they are being moved, it should not be done too quickly as this sudden movement through the air can constitute fast moving air (or wind) which can put out the candle. This air interference can also lead to tunneling because the flame of the candle may not stay upright while the candle is being moved; thus resulting in uneven burning of the surface of the candle.
- Allowing the candle wax to solidify after use
There are candle buyers who like touch or play with the melted wax on the surface of the candle after they put it out. This habit should not be encouraged because it will affect the shape of the surface of the candle after it solidifies. Special care should also be taken with the rest of the candle during this point in time, because the candle is relatively softer during this time and there is a very high risk of it bending while it is being put away for storage. To prevent this kind of issues, the candle should be left alone after it is put away, so that it can cool down and solidify in its proper shape.