Candles are meant to burn steady and smoothly if lit under proper conditions. At times, this may not be the case as the flame can move so much, in dancing and flickering motion. This unsteady movement is as a result if so many factors which may be external or internal to the candle itself.

The following are likely causes of excessive moving flames in candles:

1. The surrounding air

If a candle is lit close to a window, an overhead fan, an air vent or any source of excessive air, there would be an excessive movement of the flame. The candle light may even go out in the long run.

What can I do to prevent this?

To take care of this problem your candles should be lit away from your open windows, air vent, overhead fans and every other part if your house with an excessive supply of air. Do not close your windows and vents while at this. Your room should be properly ventilated when you light a candle.

2. The combustion materials

Like every other combustion process, the burning of candles needs certain materials for the combustion to proceed. Also, these materials must be in the right proportion. If any of these needed materials, whether the fuel, oxygen source or heat source is in excess or in low amounts the flame would not burn as supposed. When the oxygen is in excess compared to the fuel (the wax), the flame becomes very large and this large flame moves excessively.

What can I do to prevent this?

Your candles should be burned in places with steady supply of oxygen. The room must not have shortage or excess of oxygen. Also, your wick must be properly trimmed to avoid excessive wick length which may lead to high flames that would not burn evenly.


Apart from candles burning with flames that moves excessively, there are other problems that candles can have, if not burned properly. Some of these include:

1. Smoking flame

2. Flickering flame

3. Wax tunneling

4. Candle wick drowning

5. Settling of fragrance wick in the base of your candle jar

6. Unsmooth candle top

7. Wax not sticking to the side of the glass container.



Smoking flame

Smoking flame is as a result of long wick. The wax near the flame melts and forms a pool of liquid wax. This liquid wax which serves as the fuel is pulled up the wick. This is in order for the flame to be fed with fuel needed for the necessary combustion to take place. With very long wick, the fuel and heat source wouldn’t have a balance. When this imbalance happens, the chemical reaction going on (i.e. combustion) is not balanced, and excess CO2 (smoke and soot) will be given off.

How to fix this?

1. Trim your wick: your candles wick should always be trimmed to ¼ inch before being lit. This way there would be a balance in the proportion of fuel and oxygen source. This way the wick burns completely and then soot and smoke would not be given off.

2. Keep your candles away from moving air: candles should be burned in areas with still air- rooms that are well-ventilated. The candles should be lit away from drafts, strong wind and air vents.

Flickering flame

The shape of a normal candle flame is tear drop. This shape may not occur if the candle always flickers. Candle flames flickers when a burst of air passes briefly through the candle. This action causes the flame to dance around and the wick to use up the wick at an inconsistent pace. If the burning candle receives too much air or uses too much wax- or even too little of these, the flame will flicker.

How to fix this?

1. Pay attention to your candle flame, make sure it is not high or wild.

Wax tunneling

Tunneling is a situation that occurs in candles when your candle forms a circular tunnel around the wick down through the core of the candle. It may occur if a candle is not burned long enough so that the pool formed by the wax has enough time to reach the edge of the candle. Tunneling always results in when a candle is extinguished too early. Candles are to be burned at first for at least 4 hours.

Also, if your candle wick is too small relative to the width of your candle, tunneling may also occur. A wick that is too small may not have the capacity to burn your candles from edge to edge. This is the reason why some large candles come with multiple wicks. The type of wax your candle was made from too may also be a reason why tunneling occurs.

How to fix this?

Tunneling can only be fixed when candles are made. There is little or nothing you can do for a tunneling candle as a candle user. If you are a Chandler, the following can be done to make sure the candles you produce, do not tunnel.

1. Make sure you are using the correct wick size for your candle size. You should never use a small wick for very large candles.

2. Different kinds of waxes are suited for different kinds of candles. Ensure you’re using the appropriate wax type for the specific candle you are making to avoid tunneling

3. Tunneling may be as a result of hard wax that may be difficult to burn through. Ensure excessive think fragrance oil is not added to your candle, so that it would be able to burn


Irrespective of the problems you may encounter with your candles they are mostly fixable. Some of these problems can always be fixes by following simple candle burning rules like:

  • always trim your candle wick
  • Burn your candles away from draft
  • Burn you candle long enough for the wax to burn evenly. Etc.

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