Candles have been around for so long that there are no concrete records that identify the exact individual that invented it. However, the ancient Romans have been credited with its discovery. Candles used to be very important to indoor illumination before the invention of the light bulb in the 19th century, which led to a decline in the demand for candles. However, rather than dying out of existence or fading into history, candles have held onto society with a tenacious grip and they have found new important roles in the areas of aesthetics and aromatherapy.
THE ROLE OF CANDLES IN THE PRESENT AGE
Candles serve a very important role in aromatherapy, a treatment practice that involves the use of essential oils and fragrant extracts gotten from plants. These fragrant substances are usually mixed or added to melted candle-wax during the process of candle-making. They are then emitted along with the vapors, soot and droplets given off during the burning of the candles. As soon as they are inhaled, the fragrances of scented candles help to relieve stress and to help people who have trouble sleeping to get the rest that they need. This is a crucial part of aromatherapy. Asides aromatherapy, candles also serve to provide illumination or light. Although the existence of electricity, light bulbs and other sources of indoor lighting has reduced the global demand for candles, candles are still used to provide light. The use of candles for illumination is particularly more common and necessary in areas of the world where electricity is not constant. Such under-developed parts of the world tend to have greater need for candles compared to all other regions. Another important use of candles comes into play in the aspect of aesthetics. Candles can be very beautiful. As a matter of fact, it isn’t just candles that hold that power but the candle holders, the soft glow of the flames as they burn and the fragrance of scented candles. All of these attributes of candles hold aesthetic value and they all provide some form of artistic significance which is often utilized in romantic situations; in order to set the mood.
Additionally, candles provide warmth when they burn and it is possible to heat up a room by increasing the number of burning candles present in that room. However, it is very important to put candles in safe spots so as to guarantee safety.
THE HAZARDS OF CANDLE BURNING
Candles must not be left burning unsupervised because of the risk of fire hazard. Strong winds may blow through a window and knock over burning candles. Then, the flames may get onto items in the room such as curtains, paper and even tables. Under continued lack of vigilance, these flames may spread and eventually engulf the whole room or even the entire hours. However, the risk of fire outbreak is only one of the biggest – and most dangerous – risks of candle burning. Another risk has to do with the candle itself. When burning candles are left unsupervised, there is a large tendency that they may not burn very well, particularly if they are placed very close to an open window. When this happens, the candle may burn with an increased level of soot as a result of incomplete combustion. This increased level of soot can accumulate in the candle holder, thus reducing the effectiveness of the candle burning process. It may also inadvertently increase the risk of a fire outbreak.
Also, the wick of the candle may begin to assume a mushroom shape or tunneling may occur. Tunneling is what happens when only the centermost part of the candle-wax is melting as the candle burns. This uneven melting of the wax often results in the formation of a hole in the middle of the candle while the edges of the candles melt at a much slower rate. Tunneling results in the wastage of candle-wax as the candle will burn out more quickly and unused candle-wax will be left behind at the edges. There are certain precautions that can be taken in order to prevent all these things from happening, and some of them have to do with where the candle is placed when it is burning.
WHERE SHOULD YOU NOT PUT A BURNING CANDLE?
Burning candles can be relatively safe, as long as they are handled with care. Candles must never be left unsupervised when they are burning, in order to prevent fire hazards and other undesirable end results. However, the position of a burning candle can also affect many things. For instance, during candle burning, candles must not be placed too close to an open window. First of all, strong gusts of wind may blow through the window and put out the candle. However, these very same winds can also knock burning candles over, thus resulting in a fire outbreak when the flames catch onto other items in the rooms.
Also, burning candles must not be positioned too near to an individual, particularly when the person is sleeping. This is because the vapors and droplets emitted from burning candles can be inhaled in large amounts when the candles are placed too close to an individual. When inhaled, these vapors can lead to allergic reactions or the worsening of symptoms of illnesses such as asthma. They may also contribute to the occurrence of lung cancer. Sleeping individuals pose a dual risk in candle-burning, where safety is concerned. First of all, the lack of awareness of a person sleeping in a room where a candle is burning means that the candle may be burning unsupervised. Anything – including a fire outbreak – can happen in such a scenario. Secondly, a sleeping individual may not be aware of the gases that they are inhaling, thus adverse symptoms associated with the inhalation of dangerous vapors may go unnoticed for a long time and may thereby worsen.
Additionally, burning candles must not be placed anywhere near inflammable items such as gas cookers and cylinders, open bottles of flammable alcohol and other such substances. This must be done in order to prevent the incidence of a fire outbreak which may occur when the flame of the candle interacts with the inflammable material.