The captivating fragrances and mood-enhancing ambiance of candles can create a lovely atmosphere in your home. Scented candles leave a lingering aroma that can cover up unpleasant odors, and the calm, welcoming glow of a lit wick makes it easy to unwind after a long day. With the quick strike of a match, you can effortlessly infuse your home with warmth or fragrance. Despite all the benefits of candles, it's important to remember that you're still playing with fire whenever you burn them. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reports that 7,900 home fires were started by candles between 2013 and 2017, resulting in an annual average of 80 deaths, over 720 injuries and $268 million in direct property damage. To stay safe while you relax, you must be aware of certain candle dangers and how to avoid them.
Important Candle Myths for Fire Safety Burning a candle doesn't require a lot of skill, but even when they're used properly, candles of all shapes and sizes can easily spark a fire. Learn the truth behind three of the most common candle myths, and help keep your family, home and belongings safe.
Myth 1. Candles on countertops will never have problems. Wrong! Setting a candle on a flat surface away from the ground doesn't make it fireproof. Children, pets or common clumsiness can still knock the candle over, and an open flame can easily catch clothing, hair, tails and other items nearby on fire. Drafts can even push flammable items like curtains and other fabrics into the flame or cause the candle itself to fall and break. Lit candles require vigilance, no matter where you put them.
Myth 2. Wax melts, wickless candles and tea lights are totally safe. Wrong! Even if the candle itself doesn't burn, many wickless candles and wax melts still require a tea light to heat the wax and release the fragrance. Tea lights are a small, popular option for mood lighting and fragrance diffusion, but any time you have an open flame, you have the chance for a fire to ignite and get out of control. Even electric warmers can pose electrical fire hazards. Use caution whenever you burn wax melts or wickless candles.
Myth 3. Candles make the best lighting option in the event of a power outage. Wrong! When an electrical storm knocks out your power, reach for battery-powered flashlights or lanterns instead of real candles. If you must use candles, avoid carrying them around, leaving them near windows or linens of any sort, or using them to inspect confined spaces like closets and attics. Above all, extinguish all your candles before bed. Falling asleep contributed to 11 percent of home fires caused by candles and 30 percent of associated fatalities on average between 2009-2013, according to the National Candle Association. By remaining vigilant and keeping these candle dangers and myths in mind, you and your family can enjoy the fragrance and ambiance of scented candles with less risk. Always use caution when lighting and using candles, and remember to extinguish them completely before leaving the room. If the unexpected does occur, remember that you can count on the restoration professionals at ServiceMaster Restore® to get your home back to normal as soon as possible after a fire. Our teams are available 24/7/265 to help you move from crisis to resolution with confidence. Learn more about our residential fire damage services today.