Open Accessibility Menu

Candle Dangers & Candle Myths: Know The Difference

Fire Damage
Author: ServiceMaster Restore

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.

Related Articles

  • Space Heater Safety: Prevent Space Heater Fires
    Space Heater Safety: Prevent Space Heater Fires When the weather keeps getting colder and it feels impossible to stay warm, a space heater can be your best friend. Portable and convenient, space heaters are popular appliances to heat homes and businesses whenever the temperatures drop – but they can also be potentially ... Continue Reading
  • Christmas Tree Fires: How to Avoid Them This Holiday Season
    Christmas Tree Fires: How to Avoid Them This Holiday Season The winter holidays can be the busiest time of year for many households. There are family activities, community events and parties to attend, and you may even be hosting a gathering or two in your own home. Kids are excited, the days are short and there seems to be a ... Continue Reading
  • Holiday Party Safety Tips
    Holiday Party Safety Tips If you’re hosting a party this holiday season, safety should be an essential part of your party planning preparation work. While we don’t want to shy anyone away from the fun of parties, we want to remind you to always consider safety before planning your event. According to ... Continue Reading
  • Turkey Frying Safety: The Dangers of Turkey Fryer Fires
    Turkey Frying Safety: The Dangers of Turkey Fryer Fires According to a survey by the National Turkey Federation, eighty-eight percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving also has one of the highest percentages of home fires caused by cooking – especially since turkey fryer fires have hit the ... Continue Reading
Page 1 of 11