Candle burning might seem simple at first. In fact, most people assume that you can light up a candle and let it burn as long as you want. Unfortunately, this is not the case at all.
On average, a candle should not be burned for longer than four hours. The exact time depends on the size of the candle and the wax used, where a smaller candle should be burning for a shorter duration than a larger candle.
Knowing the difference between waxes and candle sizes can help you understand how to light your candle correctly. We’ll talk more about this and the specifics of candle burning here in this article. This way, by the end of the article, you’ll have a better idea of how long to burn your candle.
How Long Should You Burn A Candle
The length of time a candle can burn depends primarily on the size of the candle. Some candles have a small lifespan of mere hours. Other candles can last for hundreds of hours. It all depends on how your candle was crafted and how much wax it has.
Still, regardless of what type of candle you get, you don’t want to burn through a candle in one sitting. Candles should be burned in increments and only for hours at a time. For any candle type, you won’t want to burn them for more than four hours. Burning a candle any longer than this time can be dangerous and can damage the candle.
And, in most cases, especially with smaller candles, you should only burn a candle for 2 to 3 hours. This is a good baseline number for most candle products.
The length of burning is especially important when you first light your candle up. You want to let your candle burn for a good 2 to 3 hours. Sometimes, if your candle is larger you might even light it up for up to four hours.
The important thing is to burn through the entire top layer of the candle. This way a ring does not form. We’ll get more into proper candle burning in a later section of this post, though.
Really, though, after the first layer of your candle is burned away, you can decide how long to burn your candle. We recommend the 2 to 3 hour benchmark. But look at the manufacturing label on your candle. Oftentimes, there is a lot of useful information about your specific candle’s burning needs right on the label of your candle.
In addition, the burn time of each candle could depend on the wax that is used. Soy wax candles and beeswax candles can burn longer. Sometimes they can be burned for up to four hours. However, other types of wax-like coconut and paraffin have a lower melting point. So, they should only be burned for around 2 to 3 hours at a time.
How To Know If You’ve Burned Your Candle For Too Long
There are a few ways to know if you have burned your candle for too long. One of the most obvious signs of over-burned candles is dark smoke. If you see black smoke rising from your candle this means that you have definitely been burning it for too long. This could lead to other candle issues down the line. If you have a scented candle, for example, it could lose its scent. Or the burnt wax could smell off.
Eventually, when you overburn a candle, all the carbon dioxide will gather into the wick. This will cause the wick to expand into a mushroom shape. In time, it could become harder to light up your deformed wick. And even when you light up the deformed wick, you could get an uneven burn. More smoke will rise from your candle as well.
Other signs to look out for include dark black rings on your candle holder. These rings can form when there is too much heat produced from a candle flame. In some situations, a candle holder can even crack from the heat of a flame. This is pretty rare, though, but you want to be mindful of these signs.
How To Correctly Burn A Candle (And The Effects If You Burn Incorrectly)
Burning your candle correctly is important. Not only will correct candle burning extend the life of your candle, but it can also help reduce the risk of fire hazards. We’ll explain in detail how you should burn your candle here. So keep reading!
To burn a candle the right way, you need to start by trimming the wick of the candle. Trim it down to about ¼ of an inch or around an ⅛ of an inch. After this, you can begin burning your candle. When you light it up, remember that you want to prevent memory rings from forming. If the top layer of your candle is not completely burned, it will tunnel.
What this means is that your candle will not burn evenly and that wax will be wasted and left unburned. So, make sure that the wax melts all the way to the edges of the candle for its first burn. The best way to ensure this is by letting your candle burn continuously and in an ideal environment.
An ideal environment means a couple of things. You want to keep your candle away from airstreams. Do not place your candle near windows and indoor cooling systems. Candles should not be placed near heat sources either. This will create an uneven burn. Once your candle is situated, we recommend burning it anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, as we mentioned before.
For medium, to larger sized candles, though, 3 to 4 hours might be a more appropriate length of time. Remember, to never burn your candle over four hours. Also, let your candle cool down for at least two hours after it is lit. You can relight it after this time.
Burning your candle incorrectly might seem harmless. But when a candle burns longer than it should, it can be dangerous. In fact, incorrect candle burning can be a major fire hazard!
What Exactly Happens When A Candle Is Burned Incorrectly
When you do not burn your candle for the correct amount of time, the wick can become unstable. This part of the candle expands and will cause the flame of your candle to go out of control. The flames rise higher and become wider. If you keep your candle away from flammable objects nothing should get burned.
However, if something is nearby your candle, it can easily catch on fire from the lengthened flame in your candle holder. Drapes and other household items could be in the path of your candle flame and cause a house fire.
Other issues to worry about include damaged candle holders. When the flames are too hot they can break the candle holder. Wax can slip out and the candle could even fall over. This would also pose a fire risk in your home.
Even if the flames do not burn things down, the smoke burned from the wick could make your home smell smoky. The release of excess carbon dioxide is not that great for your health either. Really, you want to prevent this at all times!
So, make sure you are burning your candle the correct way. When you take the time to burn your candle correctly and for the right length of time, you will get much better use out of it. Again, you want to trim your wick and melt the top layer of wax fully from the candle. Also, consider trimming the wick after each burn. This will help keep the wick from mushrooming and overheating.