Crucial Safety Tips for using Scented Candles Crucial Safety Tips for using Scented Candles

Each holiday season, scented candle sales usually hit a peak for the year. Candles will be used to decorate homes and businesses across the nation throughout the winter months. Unfortunately, many candle users don't understand the dangers of scented candles. Therefore, thousands of home fires occur each year that might have been prevented by taking just a few safety precautions.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were approximately 18,000 reported home structure fires caused by candles in 2002. Home structures refer to dwellings, apartments, manufactured homes and duplexes. These fires were responsible for 130 civilian deaths and 1,350 civilian injuries. The property damage was estimated at $333 million.

Scented Candle Dangers

Here are some of the dangers of scented candles. You should be aware of these to protect your family and home while burning scented candles.

Combustible Items

One danger is using scented candles near combustible materials and products such as hairspray cans, cleaning chemicals, wet paint, etc. The flame can reach these materials in unexpected ways. For instance, a child might move the candle or hold the flame near a combustible item. Or, a house pet can easily knock the candle over, leaving the flame exposed to a surface that can melt or catch fire. When this occurs, the combustible item can possibly explode, causing a big fire in a matter of seconds.

Dangerous Placement of Scented Candles

Another dangerous mistake is placing the scented candle near a vent or window where a draft can easily reach the flame. Flames can grow quickly when combined with air drafts. Scented candles should never be placed close to curtains or blinds, bedding materials such as sheets, pillows and mattresses, wooden cabinetry, or any other type of cloth or plastic material. These items are most often ignited by candles according to home fire statistics.

Don't Forget to Put the Flame Out

Candle users often forget to properly exterminate the flame before they leave the home or go to bed at night. As the candle burns, it can possibly melt through its container as well as the surface where it is placed. Be sure to burn the scented candle while you or someone else is nearby relaxing - not busy - so you can remember to put the flame out.

More Helpful Scented Candle Safety Tips

1. Trim a new candle wick and keep it trimmed often as the candle's size is reduced.

2. Keep the area around the wick clean and free of wick materials, dust or even small pieces of trash. These items can be ignited.

3. Place the scented candle on a surface that cannot melt or catch fire easily. Wood and plastic surfaces should be avoided; however, you can also place the candle atop an item with a surface that's not flammable.

For example, if you want to place the scented candle on a wooden fireplace mantle, put a metal candle holder underneath to avoid contact between the heat and the wooden surface.

4. Keep scented candles away from children and pets while lit. Light the candle in an area of the home where you can keep an eye on it at all times. This will also help to remind you to put out the flame before leaving or going to bed.

5. Never burn scented candles for extended periods of time. Limit burning time to 30 minutes if possible.

6. Use safe alternatives if you live in an apartment or want to "spice" up your office for the holidays. Some safe alternatives to scented candles include reed diffusers, aroma gels, wickless candles and potpourri. These all give out an aromatic fragrance without the risk of fire.

Keep these safety tips in mind during the holidays or any time of the year if you enjoy using scented candles. Candles can make your home look (and smell) beautiful if you use them safely!

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