Why Is My Candle Flame So High? And How You Can Fix It!
Candles are a great way to elevate areas of your home. Not only does the gentle glow of the flame create a stunning ambiance, but the beautiful scents can also be calming and relaxing.
But despite their beauty, candles can be dangerous if not used correctly.
One of the common problems when burning candles is producing a flame that is too high, creating a fire hazard amongst a myriad of other issues.
Thankfully, this is an issue that can usually be managed with some easy and quick techniques, letting you spend more time enjoying your candles.
Is Your Candle Flame Too High?
The ideal flame size for a smaller candle, such as a 12 oz candle, votives, travel, and small container candles, is between 0.5 to 1 inch tall. For larger candles, pillars, and large taper candles, the flame should reach no taller than 2 inches. If your candle is producing a flame that is higher than this, it is likely because it is burning too hot.
Why Your Candle Shouldn’t Have A High Flame
You may be wondering why it is important not to have a high flame for your candle. Not only is visually displeasing but there are also several reasons why a high flame can be a problem:
The most obvious reason is that a high flame can create more of a fire hazard compared to a typical candle flame. You may have noticed that higher flames moved around significantly more, increasing the probability of it being uncontrollable and jumping to create a fire. A good rule of thumb for any candle is to keep a 1-foot area around the candle clear of any flammable materials.
Cracked and Damaged Jars
With a higher flame comes more heat. This increase in heat could crack the walls of the candle’s container if the glass is not thick enough, creating both a fire hazard and a safety issue. This is typically seen in cheaper candles made with inexpensive materials. More expensive candles do not typically have this issue as the glass is heat-tempered to withstand the heat.
Reduces Candle Lifespan
As mentioned above, a higher flame will produce more heat. This will lead to the wax and fragrance oils burning quicker and ultimately shortening the overall burn time.
Occasionally, a taller flame will also produce black smoke. Not only is the unsightly, but the scent of smoke can overpower the lovely fragrance of the candle and diminish your enjoyment.
How To Fix A High Candle Flame
As you can see, having a high candle flame is a big no-no. Here are several ways to fix a high candle flame depending on what might be causing it.
The Wick Is Too Long
The most common reason is that the wick is too long. If a candle has been burned for an extended period, the wick can become longer as it is exposed to the wax. It will also start flowering or develop a mushroom top, which is a build-up of carbon that fuels the flame.
The general rule of thumb is the wick should be 1/4 inch long to create a flame that is a maximum of 1 inch high.
The Fix: If the wick of your candle is longer than this, you can trim it using a pair of scissors or a specialized wick trimmer. Be careful not to trim the wick too much, as this can cause other problems. A good habit to develop is trimming the wick between 1/4″ to 1″ before you burn your candle.
The Wick Is Too Large
Another common reason that a flame is burning too high it the wick is too large for the candle. A larger wick provides more surface area for the flame to burn. By large, we don’t mean length, we mean diameter.
A large wick will produce a large flame and melt the wax deeper which will stop it from burning after a certain period. It is also likely to burn unevenly, eventually causing the wick to slump.
The Fix: Unfortunately, it is not possible to fix or replace the wick in a candle with this issue. It would be best to consider buying a new candle which does not have this problem.
Many types of wax can be used to make candles, including paraffin wax, soy wax, and beeswax. Each type of wax has a specific candle wick and container designed for it.
If the manufacturer has incorrectly paired a wax type and specific wick and container, the flame will be too high and create a melt pool, ultimately causing your candle life to shorten.
The Fix: Much like if the wick is too large, this is not an issue you can fix and it is best to replace the candle.
Amount of Fragrance
For those who enjoy fragranced candles, especially those that are sweet-smelling, it is important to consider the fragrance oil load to determine how high the flame will burn. Fragrance oils burn quicker and easier than normal wax, so the flame can be higher and the candle can burn at a different intensity.
The Fix: Ensure to use the correct fragrance load for the type of candle wax and fragrance oil you are using.
End of Candles Lifespan
Even if none of the above issues are occurring with your candle, the flame could be burning too high as it has been burned for too long. Most manufacturers will recommend the total length of time that a candle should be burned. This is because as the candle burns, the carbon used as the fuel source will gradually build up in the wick. There will come a time when too much carbon has built up and the candle will need to be replaced.
The Fix: A manufacturer will note the expected lifespan of your candle. Take this into consideration if you start seeing the candle flame becoming a little too high.