Why Is My Candle Flame So High? (And How To Fix It)

why is my candle flame so high

Imagine yourself at a nice, romantic dinner. You suddenly fancy setting the room’s mood by lighting up some lovely candles – then worse comes to worst, your candle flame suddenly burns too high and ruins the aesthetic of the scenario. Sucks, right?

Candles are truly great for setting the ambiance of a warm setting– until the flame gets out of control and starts acting on its own. If the flame gets too high, like what happened in our little example earlier, then the flame may be burning too hot. 

Other than a wild flame ruining the mood, this also means that the candle will burn faster, and a fire hazard may be in sight.

Basically, you do not want a high flame! It poses a fire risk and reduces the lifespan of your candle by melting the wax too quickly!

So, you may be wondering: why is my candle flame so high?

We’ll let you know why in this article and ways on how you can keep your candle flame under control!

First Things First: How Does A Candle Burn?

Let’s get into the science bits of candle lighting first. (This won’t be long, we promise!)

If you light up the wick of a candle, you’ll notice that the flame melts the wax surrounding the wick thanks to its high temperature. The molten wax will climb up the absorbent cotton wick and sustain the flame like a fuel, all thanks to a process we call capillary action.

So, a flame burning too high may be burning too hot as it is melting too much wax, too quickly. This problem is usually solved by fixing the candle wick or cleaning up the excess wax!

But really– how high is ‘too high’ for a candle flame? Let’s find out!

How High Should My Candle Flame Be?

Although you can’t precisely measure the height of your candle flame, we’ll give you the approximately safe height for your next candle.

A candle flame should approximately be between ½ to 2 inches in height, depending on the candle’s type of wick and size. Most candle flames are closer to the ½” mark than the 2″ mark.

A general rule of thumb is as follows:

  • For candles that are around 12 oz (like votives and jar candles), they should be around 1/2″ to 1″ in height.
  • Larger candles like taper candles can reach up to 2″.

The height of a candle flame is measured from the beginning of the flame arc, right to the flame tip.

Heads up! Keep in mind that your flame should ideally be burning steadily with no movement and production of soot or excess smoke. In fact, a flame that is flickering a lot or is smoking a little too much can be a symptom of the flame being too high!

However; just like it is possible to reduce candle flame flicker, you can also reduce the height of the flame for a better (and safer) candle burning experience.

Getting the right size of a candle flame is affected by many factors that you might not even be aware of.

Curious about why a candle flame can burn too high? Let’s get into it. 

Why Do Candle Flames Burn Too High?

Wick Is Too Thick

The wick that may have been put in your candle is too thick or large for the type of wax used. A wick too large or thick leads to a larger flame that burns hotter. When the pool of molten wax becomes too deep, the wick flumps down the candle after a long burn.

Usually, there’s nothing you can do about this since it’s a common manufacturing issue. While it can be a bummer, it’s best to just get a new candle to save you the risk of a fire hazard.

Wick Is Too Long

A wick that is too long may be due to a candle that has burned for quite a long time.

Luckily, this can be solved by trimming the candle wick. To keep your flame under control, trim your candle’s wick down to ¼ of an inch. This should produce a flame that is no taller than an inch. Following this tip before lighting your candle up each time guarantees to control the amount of fuel that your flame uses up, resulting in a longer candle life for a pleasant and safe burn.

A wick may also become “mushroomed” after burning for some time. A mushroomed wick may be due to the carbon accumulation from the hydrocarbons used to sustain the flame. Trimming your wick will also help prevent this problem.

Wrong Wick For The Wrong Wax

Believe it or not, there are wicks intended for certain kinds of waxes. For example, a wick that is designed for a beeswax candle that is used in a soy wax candle will definitely burn hotter, resulting in a taller flame.

If you’re making your own candles, ensure you purchase the right wicks for the type of wax you are using.

Prolonged Usage Of Your Candle

A candle flame can burn high after using it for a while, regardless of the combination of its wick, oils, and wax. This is because of the carbon buildup on the wick that fuels a growing flame. The longer the candle burns, the higher the temperature of the candle’s wax and the container. Thus, causing a hotter and taller flame over time.

The best thing you can do is never use a candle longer than 4 hours unless otherwise stated by the candle’s manufacturer.

The Candle Wax

The particular type of candle wax will also influence the height of the flame. Let’s take beeswax and paraffin wax as an example. Beeswax candles may need more wick than a standard paraffin wax candle, resulting in the longer burning of beeswax candles and higher flame.

Now, How Can I Fix A High Flame?

Fixing a candle flame is usually straightforward, requiring a simple solution– unless it’s the manufacturer’s fault! (In this case, there’s nothing really you can do about it).

We’ve already mentioned most of the solutions already, but for those who missed it, let’s reiterate:

Get yourself a wick trimmer and start cutting those wicks down to their appropriate size! Before reusing, a candle’s wick should be trimmed down to ¼ of an inch above the solid wax part.

Furthermore; do not let a candle burn overnight and try not to use it for longer than 4 hours. Make sure to check on it every once in a while.

If it’s something to blame the manufacturer for, it’s best to get new and fresh candles. Try purchasing candles with thinner wicks to get a longer and safer burning flame.

Keep Your Candle Flame Under Control!

Candles are heaven-sent gifts that make any space more relaxing and warm – only if you know how to use them properly!

Unfortunately, they can be massive fire hazards if proper practices are not observed.

An appropriately balanced wick, with the right height and diameter considered, ensures keeping a candle flame at a safe height. By trimming down your wick and letting it burn for the right amount of time, you can bid your worries goodbye the next time you light up a lovely candle!

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