Why is my candle smoking and the flame is flickering?
Got dancing flame problems? Soot or smoking candles? See below for some good tips, questions and advice.
Why is my candle smoking?
The primary cause of black smoke is an overly long wick. When a candle burns, the wax near the flame melts and the liquid wax is pulled up the wick to feed the flame. If the wick is too long, the balance of heat and fuel will be off. This throws off the chemical reaction and can produce excess soot and smoke.
What is candle smoke or soot?
Smoke is the unburned particles of carbon released when the hydrocarbon chain of candle wax breaks down. When the candle is lit, most of the carbon gets burned to carbon dioxide, but some escapes.
Does burning a candle for more than 4 hours cause candle smoke?
If you burn your candle for more than 4 hours at a time, carbon will collect on the wick, and your wick will begin to "mushroom." This can cause the wick to become unstable, the flame to get too large, your candle to smoke, and soot to be released into the air and around your candle container.
Why does the flame flicker on my candle?
Any bursts of air that cause your candle flame to dance around also cause your wick to use fuel at an inconsistent pace. The wick is drawing oil from the candle wax as fuel, and a buildup is created within the wick. Bursts of air cause the flame to burn less oil than the wick is taking in.
Another way to say it is when a candle is lit, the heat of the flame melts the wax near the wick. This liquid wax is then drawn up the wick by capillary action. If the flame gets too little or too much air or fuel, it can flicker or flare and unburned carbon particles (soot) will escape from the flame before they can fully combust.
What can I do to prevent smoking, sooting, flickering and dancing flames on my candles?
For best results:
1. Trim wicks to ¼ inch to reduce the release of soot. Make sure your candle burns low and even for a cleaner burn. Burn container candles until there is a wax pool across the top of the candle, which should not be longer than 4 hours.
2. Pay attention to your candle flame. It shouldn't be high and wild. If it is look to see if the wick needs to be trimmed. If it's flickering or sooting/smoking- check for a breeze, draft or other moving air source near your candle. Never burn candles unattended.
3. Use a snuffer to extinguish the flame, which will reduce the emission of black smoke.
4. For best results including; highest wax consumption, best fragrance throw, and longest burn time - please burn the candles (all wicks) for 3-4 hours at one time, until there is a wax pool across the entire top of the candle, then extinguish and let the candle cool for about 1 hr and trim the wicks between each burn cycle. This sets the candle's "memory" and will achieve the best wax consumption (very little wax left in the jar, no tunneling), and best fragrance throw. Following this will greatly reduce smoking/sooting while burning, and will also help reduce mushrooming wicks, which is more likely to happen on highly fragranced candles. The fragrance we smell in the air comes from the melted wax pool, so it's important to let that pool develop.
For candles with less wick maintenance, try our TimberWick candles, made with a natural wood wick.
Want more candle burning tips? Checkout this article from our friends at Candlefind: https://candlefind.com/candle-tips-make-you-candle-pro/