Everyday, 3 fires are started by candles! Don’t let yours be one of them!
Candles are all the rage, with sales increasing in the UK by 17% in 2016 alone. I totally get the appeal! They make your house smell like unicorns and rainbows (there you go Yankee, that’s your next idea!) and look cosy, comforting and warm. But! They’re super scary-dangerous if you don’t look after them and use them properly.
This post contains affiliate links
Did you know that over a quarter of all UK households buy scented candles on a regular basis? Wow!
I think most people underestimate how little it takes to start a fire in their home; and trust me when I say that it really ain’t much!
In the UK during the year of 2015/16, 191 people died in house fires that were accidental!
At the end of 2016 both the Mail and Express posted articles about how candle sale increases had been reflected in the number of house fires caused by candles. Seriously! The death toll has trebled in three years! That ain’t good! I have experience in this and I’ve seen the devastation that can be caused by one candle; so not worth it! Whether it’s a bargain little tea light or Jo Malone (Gush of jealousy!) that you’re burning, the risk is the same and just as scary.
So I’ve clubbed together some simple “don’ts” that you can easily put into practice at home. Come on, reduce the risk of “Burning down the house!” Coz let’s face it, only Tom Jones can get away with that!
(I will also apologise in advance for the terrible song references throughout!, but it makes me happy so go with it! It also helps you to remember them so there *sticks out tongue*)
Hold me close…don’t let me go…..
(see I told you!)
Can I say for the record now that the little silver foil container that tea light candles come in are NOT candle holders! A candle holder is, by definition, something that doesn’t conduct heat (yes glass conducts heat but you’d need one hot-assed candle to melt a glass holder #justsaying!) there are loads of types out there so invest in something simple and practical that is made for purpose. If not, shove it on a saucer or a plate or in a teacup! I don’t care, just don’t put it on a shelf on its bare ass! (Also – a TV is not a good surface to put anything on!)
All by myself (Don’t wanna be……..)
Yes. I admit it. I sung that title! Sorry! But it’s true. Alone time is nice every now and again and we can all appreciate a little “me time” with our own thoughts but just remember; candles aren’t people! They’re like love birds- they need constant companionship and company- without it they’re likely to cause all sorts of bother! If you’re leaving a room, put the thing out! Plus, if you have expensive taste and own fabulous Jo Malone or the likes, why would you leave that burning away? It’s like burning money and not even staying around to watch the excitement! Daft!
Smoke on the water….
(dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum….)
Yeah, I sang that one too! I can imagine myself sometimes laid in a steaming hot bath, with the lulling tones of tinkling wind chimes or whale calls filling the air. Bubbles-a-plenty, glass of wine and a good book! I swear I’m wanting to abandon this post right now to go and do that! What I do leave out of my little fantasy is the flickering of candles. Candles and water I hear you cry! What could possibly go wrong? Well! Let me tell you!
Baths melt! Period! Putting candles on the side of a bath is like putting chocolate on a hot plate (but the other way round!) you just don’t do it unless you want a gooey mess! If you have a posh enamel bath then still, please don’t do it! The surface around a bath is unstable and the room is usually full of combustibles (stuff that catches on fire or goes pop/bang/wallop under heat!) just avoid it at all costs. “Windowsills” I hear you say – nope! Curtains and blinds! Shelves! Nope! Stuff within close vicinity can get what they call “transferred heat” and catch fire without even coming into physical contact with the naked flame. Just don’t do it! Period!
Take a Look at Me Now….
(sorry they’re getting worse!)
If you decide to have a cosy or romantic night, light a candle or two! I am not dissing candles by any stretch of the imagination. I love them and use them abundantly myself. They help to clear the dodgy remnants of stink from my strange cooking experiments and mask the smell of soggy border collie on the rainy days! but….I always check where I’m putting them before I light them.
Check a radius surrounding the candle itself, not just the naked flame. Depending on the size and shape of your candle depends on the heat transfer power it will have so I can’t give you a specific, “keep the flame x amount of inches away from anything else” but I would suggest that ya’ll are bright enough to fathom what’s too close. As a rule of thumb, 3 feet/1 meter is about right.
Also! Look up my friend! The one thing that should resonate with you from your old science lessons is that heat rises! Putting a lit flame under a shelf of pretty, net curtains is not something you should be doing. Look above the flame and move it if there’s anything up there or too close. Check for fabrics (curtains, cushions, tea towels!) and don’t put candles in a known draft! What happens when the draft gusts a bit? You got it! The heat can change direction and even flare up with the added oxygen; making the risk of surrounding items catching fire, that bit more real.
Before you go, go….
It’s the last one I promise 🙂
Don’t extinguish candles right before you leave them. You’ve seen it happen a thousand times on YouTube videos where the kid blows the candle out and it keeps coming back. Those aren’t always the magic “can’t put me out” candles. They really do that by themselves! You can imagine something super hot being super hot for a while and then you expect it to be cold with one puff of breath! No no! Put them out around 10 minutes before you leave them, leave the house or go to bed. That way you can be absolutely sure it’s out. Consider using a spoon to put them out too, which sounds weird I know but it’s loads safer than blowing them, which can send sparks and hot wax flying around! Never good!
Oh and just a little pointer, how many of you throw your used match (the one you used to light it with) into the candle wax? Yep, thought so! Don’t do that! The reason is scientific and complicated but I can tell you that you are essentially adding another wick to the candle, thereby doubling the heat generated which is way more than the poor little candle expects! It can result in breakage of the container (glass cracking under extreme heat conditions that it isn’t designed for), further reach of the heat transfer that we talked about earlier and therefore a hugely increased risk of a fire starting and spreading.
Pop your used match at the side of the candle on a cool bit of the holder, pop it in the sink and run the water or stick it in water in a cup – I don’t really care as long as it’s safe! just don’t put it in the candle or in the bin straight away!
And, of course it goes without saying, you should have smoke detectors and test them once a week!
I know I sound like a bore, but some of these things could proper save your life and your house. Next time you snuggle up and fancy the fragrance of kittens in a rose bush (I have no idea where that came from but it sounds like quite a nice smell doesn’t it?!) Take a couple of minutes to make sure it’s a safe snuggle you’re going to have (and that’s before I move on to the safe sex lecture 😉