Why Is My Candle Randomly Going Out?

Check the Wick

One of the most common reasons a candle will go out randomly is that the wick is too long. Before lighting your candle, be sure to trim the wick down to around 1⁄4 inch. This prevents the wick from bending over into the melted wax or producing a large flame that burns too quickly.

With a shorter wick, the flame will be smaller and steadier, allowing for complete melt and an even burn. Trim the wick every few hours as the candle burns down. Use nail clippers, scissors, or a wick trimmer specifically designed for trimming candle wicks. A properly trimmed wick will prevent tunneling and improve burn time.

Protect from Drafts

One of the most common reasons for candles to go out randomly is getting hit by drafts in a room. Drafts can come from a variety of sources – open windows, doors, fans, vents, etc. If airflow in a room is uneven, it can disrupt the delicate flame of a candle.

To prevent drafts from extinguishing candles prematurely, avoid placing candles near open windows, doors, or fans. The movement of air from these sources can blow directly onto the candle flame. Even a small breeze is enough to make the flame flicker and go out.

Shield candles from drafts by putting them in locations protected from airflow. Good spots are on mantles, shelves, or tables away from windows, doors, vents, and fans. Having something like a shade or lantern cover over the candle can also buffer it against gusts of air. This helps block direct drafts so the flame can keep burning steadily.

Take some time to observe the airflow patterns in a room before lighting candles. Position them where they’ll be out of the main air currents. Protecting candles from drafts will help prevent the aggravation of them randomly going out before fully melting all the wax.

Avoid Burning the Candle’s Container

One common reason a candle may go out randomly is if the flame touches the glass or metal container holding the candle. As the flame burns down, it can flicker and dance in a breeze or draft. If the candle is in a container that does not adequately protect the sides, the flame may come into direct contact with the glass or metal.

When the flame touches the container, the container will absorb the heat instead of letting it get to the wax to keep the candle burning. This leads to the flame shrinking and potentially going out.

To prevent this, choose a candle container that is taller than the candle and has adequate clearance on all sides. Glass or metal containers should have at least 1-2 inches of clearance between the candle and sides of the holder. This will protect the flame from accidently touching the container as it burns.

Additionally, you can add pebbles or beads to a container to raise the bottom of the candle up higher. This will position the flame safely away from the sides. Just be sure the decorations are heat resistant and not flammable.

With a properly sized candleholder that protects the flame from contact with the container, you can avoid the candle being prematurely extinguished.

Use a Stable Candleholder

One of the most common reasons a candle may go out randomly is an unstable candleholder. If the candle is not sitting completely upright and firmly in place, any small vibration or draft can cause the flame to get disrupted and extinguish.

Be sure to use a sturdy, non-tippable holder that keeps the candle vertical and anchored. Avoid using decorative holders that are rounded, uneven, or loose. This includes holders with a narrow, top-heavy base which can get knocked over easily. Votive holders are a good option for stability. Hurricanes and lanterns also protect from drafts.

The holder should be on a flat, level surface away from table edges. Don’t place it where it could get bumped or jostled. A heavy holder like stone, metal, or thick glass is less likely to tip and will keep the candle steady.

An unstable holder that allows the candle to tilt is often the culprit when the flame goes out for no apparent reason. The wax pool becomes uneven, the wick moves off center, and the flame cannot burn properly. Anchoring the candle in a sturdy holder prevents random extinguishing.

Check Burn Time

One of the most common reasons a candle can go out randomly is burning it for longer than the manufacturer recommends. Most candles have a recommended burn time, usually 1-4 hours. Burning a candle for significantly longer than the recommended time can cause the wax pool to get too hot, resulting in the wick extinguishing itself.

To avoid this, pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommended burn time and make sure to extinguish the candle once this time has passed. Burning a candle for too long can also cause the wax to tunnel down the sides, creating an uneven melt pool that is prone to going out. Sticking within the recommended burn time helps keep the wax pool even and prevents overheating.

So be sure to check the package or online description for your candle’s burn time. Set a timer as a reminder if needed. Extinguishing on time will help prevent the wick from randomly going out mid-burn.

Monitor the Wax Pool

One of the most important aspects of proper candle burning is monitoring the wax pool. The wax pool refers to the melted wax at the top of the candle while burning. For an even burn, you’ll want the wax pool to be around 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch deep.

If the wax pool is too shallow, the candle will tunnel down the center and not burn evenly. This happens because the wax at the edges doesn’t get hot enough to melt properly. If the wax pool is too deep, it can drip down the sides of the candle.

To monitor the wax pool, periodically check on the candle as it burns. Carefully extinguish the candle and allow the wax to harden when not in use. The ideal wax pool depth should be evident once the wax has cooled and hardened.

If the wax pool is too shallow, try trimming the wick to be slightly shorter before the next burn. This will produce a hotter flame to melt the wax at the edges. If the wax pool is too deep, trim the wick slightly longer to produce a lower temperature flame.

Getting the right wax pool depth is important for safe, efficient candle burning, and monitoring this while the candle burns allows you to make wick adjustments as needed.

Avoid Burning Too Long

One of the most common reasons a candle will go out randomly is if it has been burning for too long. Candles are designed to burn for a certain number of hours before being extinguished. If you allow a candle to burn past its intended burn time, the wax pool will become too deep and the wick may become engulfed or snuffed out by excess melted wax.

To prevent this, pay attention to manufacturer guidelines on burn times. Most candles should not be left burning for more than 4 hours at a time. Extinguish the candle before the intended burn time has been exceeded. This will prevent the wax pool from becoming too deep and the wick from drowning.

Also keep an eye on the wax pool as the candle burns. If the melted wax comes right up to the edge of the container, or if there is more than 1/2 inch of liquid wax pooled around the wick, it’s time to blow out the candle. Allowing the wax pool to expand too far can cause the flame to be smothered when the wick becomes covered by wax.

By extinguishing a candle before the recommended burn time has passed, and keeping the melted wax pool in check, you can avoid the wick becoming drowned or smothered. This will minimize the chances of the flame going out unexpectedly.

Keep Away From Flammables

It’s crucial to keep your burning candle at least 12 inches away from anything flammable, including curtains, drapes, bedding, paper, books, wood surfaces, etc. The open flame can easily ignite these materials and cause a dangerous fire if placed too closely.

Always check that there is a 12 inch clearance zone around your candle before lighting. It’s also wise to never leave a burning candle unattended near flammable items. The flame could flicker in an unexpected direction or the wax could drip and spread, bringing the fire hazard dangerously close to flammables.

Make sure your candle is placed on a sturdy, non-flammable surface as well. Keep it away from tablecloths, rugs, carpets or any other linens that could catch fire. Be very cautious about lighting candles in bedrooms, living rooms or other areas with lots of fabrics and paper goods around.

Accidental house fires are often started by placing burning candles too close to flammable materials. So always allow a 12 inch buffer zone around lit candles for fire safety.

Trim Wick as You Go

One of the most common reasons for a candle to go out randomly is having too long of a wick. As a candle burns down, the wick length should be trimmed to 1⁄4 inch to maintain an ideal flame height. This helps prevent excess smoking, tunneling, and the flame being extinguished from too high of a wick.

Long wicks tend to bend over into the wax pool as the candle burns, causing the flame to go out. Trimming the wick prevents this by keeping the wick short enough to stand upright. This also reduces excess carbon buildup on the wick, which can snuff out the flame.

Aim to trim the wick each time about 1⁄4 – 1⁄2 inch of the candle has burned down. Use candle scissors or nail clippers to neatly trim the wick to around 1⁄4 inch length. The shorter wick will keep the flame strong and steady. For votive or container candles, you may need to trim the wick each time you light it to maintain the ideal height.

Candle wick trimmers make this task easy. Look for trimmers with a ramp to easily center the wick and a sharp blade for a clean cut. Trimming will stop your candle from smoking, improve burn quality, and prevent the flame from randomly going out.

Consider Room Temperature

The ideal room temperature for burning a candle is between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the room is too cold, the wax can harden and the candle may struggle to remain lit. Warming the room a few degrees can help the wax melt properly so the candle burns evenly. Similarly, an overly hot room can cause the wax to melt too quickly, creating an uneven burn and potentially disrupting the wick. Maintaining an ambient room temperature in the 60-80 degree range will allow for the wax to liquefy at the ideal rate for clean, consistent burning.

Pay attention to any drafts in the room as well, as these can impact the temperature directly around the candle and cause intermittent sputtering. Eliminate drafts around candles whenever possible. And be mindful of intentionally heating the area near the candle with appliances, as this hot air can lead to an overly warm environment for clean burning.

With the right room temperature, the candle wax will melt optimally so the wick can absorb and evaporate the wax into a consistent flame. Monitor the room thermostat and make adjustments as needed to preserve ideal burning conditions.

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