Candles can bring fragrance, ambiance, and a soothing way to relax. Yet they should still be treated with caution as something potentially dangerous.
But the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) states that on average, 42 home candle fires are reported every day. The risk is higher when candles are used as a heat source. Over fifty percent of home fires start because the candle is situated next to combustible materials.
Another concern that some studies suggest is that scented candles may produce toxins like those produced by cigarettes causing indoor pollution. Candles from beeswax and soy are your best options but those made from paraffin wax have chemicals. Poorly made candles will also cause soot damage to walls even staining heating vents so it is important to buy quality candles. The National Candle Association offers information concerning candle manufacturers and frequently asked questions.
If you like the candle look but do not want to use the real thing, try electric flame-less candles. LED pillar candles are available some with 500-hour run times. Some electric candles are also scented. Some manufactures even offer plug-in warmers that actually offer heat as well as aroma using as little as a 15w light bulb.
If you do decide to use the real thing, the following candle safety tips should never be forgotten:
- Never leave a lit candle unattended
- Check and extinguish candles before going to bed
- Keep the candle seated on a stable heat-resistant surface
- Trim the wick each time you use the candle
- Do not use a candle for emergency lighting
- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from flammable materials
- Keep candles, lighters and matches far from the reach of children
- Keep the smoke alarm working
Check what your homeowners policy covers. Do not wait until a disaster occurs. Traditional homeowners insurance generally covers fires, but double check on the cash value or replacement value; make sure you understand what your policy does cover.