Candles are used all over the world either for illuminating their homes or for aromatic purposes. There are many different candles in the market today and while high-quality ones are safe to use inside your home, there are certain risks in doing so too.
You may have heard about candles being a fire hazard rather than them exploding. So, if you want to know if candles can explode, then you may be surprised to know that they do. However, it’s not the kind of explosion you may be thinking about.
Here we will be taking a look at how and why candles explode as well as the different ways in which you can prevent it from happening.
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Can Candles Explode?
It is possible for candles to explode, but not in the way one might think. Candles by themselves cannot explode. However, they can lead to fires, which in turn can cause glasses or vases to explode. Though it’s more of an indirect explosion, the consequences can be severe.
It is important to note that “exploding candles” only happen with candles that come encased in glass containers or vases. When water comes in touch with the wax, it can cause a reaction that ends up splattering the wax. Since wax melts at high temperatures, the area around the candle will get very hot. Once the temperature rises above a certain limit, the glass container or vase may explode.
In short, as water has a lower density, it will settle at the bottom of the candle container. Once the temperature gets high, the water will vaporize and cause a reaction with the wax where tiny droplets of hot wax get splattered around.
Due to higher exposure to oxygen across a larger surface area, combustion happens more rapidly. This is the same reason why it is never recommended that you stop a grease fire with water.
Other causes include leaving the candle burning for an excessive amount of time or from soot build-up. Most candles should be kept lit for a maximum of only five hours. The longer a candle is lit, the hotter the glass will become. After a certain point, it will shatter.
Soot build-up is another key cause of candles exploding. To prevent this from happening, always keep your candle in a well-ventilated room and make sure that you trim the wick if it’s more than 15mm.
Another thing you should never do is to keep a candle in a broken jar as it is a recipe for disaster. Even small imperfections on the container can lead to home fires and so even if the container has small cracks, don’t use it.
When the candle explodes, not only can the explosion lead to a big fire, but the glass shards may injure you if you are nearby. Either way, it is a very dangerous predicament to be in and therefore you need to take the necessary measures to ensure it doesn’t happen at all.
There have been many cases where people have lost their eyesight due to glass shards striking their eyes. Candle fires are also one of the leading causes of home fires every year across the world.
How to Avoid a Candle Explosion?
There are a few ways in which you can prevent or greatly minimize the chances of a candle exploding. Here are some of them:
- Avoid Water – Never let water or any liquid drip on or near the candle. The majority of candle explosion cases occur due to negligence on the part of the owner. If your ceiling is leaking, never keep the candle right under it. By using common-sense precautions, you can prevent or minimize dangerous situations from arising.
- Extinguish After Use – Always remember to blow out the candle after you use it. If you ever forget to extinguish it before you go to sleep, you are greatly increasing the chances of a home fire starting.
- Safe Placement – Keep all candles out of reach of young kids and pets at all times. Even if your children know they are not supposed to play with them, they may end up accidentally knocking the candles down when they play inside the house. Cats and dogs can also knock down lit candles, thereby triggering a home fire.
A lot of people also tend to keep their scented candles right next to their bathtubs to enjoy their fragrance. If you do so, you need to either ensure that water won’t get splashed onto them or you need to keep the candles in a material that won’t catch on fire or explode.
What to Do With a Wet Candle?
If your candles get wet accidentally, then you can either throw them away or you can dry them off. The best option to go for will depend on how they got wet and the type of candles they were.
If you keep your candle outside in the rain, then it may be a better idea to throw it away and buy a new one. However, if the candle hasn’t been exposed to water for a long time and is solid, then you can dry it off with a towel. Remember to let it dry for a few hours before using it again.
Before you do anything, you should go through any instructions given on the box the candle came with. Most manufacturers will tell you what to do in specific situations and it’s important to follow their advice. If you don’t have the box it came with, you can look for them online or contact the manufacturer.
Candle Containers that can Prevent Exploding
Apart from glass, there are other containers you can use to prevent candle explosions. They are:
- Metal Containers – Keeping candles in a metal container or tin is a good idea, especially if you want to use them outside. However, they will get very hot, so you need to be careful to keep them far away from kids and pets.
- Tea Light Tins – With small discs to collect all the dripping wax, tea light tins are a great way to use candles.
- Canning Jars – These jars can withstand very high temperatures and are one of the best containers for candles. They will cost you a little bit of money but when it comes to safety, you should never compromise.
There will always be a certain amount of risk when you use a candle. However, by following a few precautions and taking care of your candles, you can alleviate a lot of that risk and go about your lives without too many hassles.