Skip to content Accessibility info

Rathbun Insurance Blog

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Insurance

6 Tips To Safely Enjoy Candles in Your Home

Candles are responsible for an estimated 7,400 residential fires yearly, an average of 20 home fires daily. Fires caused by candles resulted in 90 deaths and $291 million in direct property damage nationwide, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Follow these 6 tips for the safe use of candles in your home:

  1. Monitor candle usage, especially around children and pets. 37% of candle fires started in bedrooms, causing 35% of the associated deaths and 47% of injuries. Never leave candles unattended around children or pets; they may knock them over. Always extinguish candles when you leave a room.
  2. Use candles safely for holiday rituals and celebrations. December and January are peak months for home candle fires. Remember, a candle is an open flame that only needs a combustible material to catch fire. Use sturdy candleholders that won’t easily tip over. Place candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, such as decorations, curtains, bedding, blankets, pillows and papers.
  3. Be careful when extinguishing candles. House fires aren’t the only danger associated with candles. Emergency rooms report burn incidents involving the eyes, face and hair from candle wax and open flames. Take care when blowing out a candle: Avoid blowing hot wax off the candle or hanging your hair or loose clothing over the open flame. Use a candle snuffer if possible.
  4. Keep wicks short, and don’t let candles burn too low. Trim candle wicks to approximately 1/8 inch before lighting. Extinguish candles before they burn too close to the candle holder or glass; some containers may become hot and break.
  5. Employ alternatives for lighting. Consider flameless candles for celebrations or setting ambiance. Use flashlights for emergency lighting, instead of candles, during a power outage. Just remember to keep the batteries charged or use a hand-crank flashlight.
  6. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers. Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every six months. Check the expiration dates on your household fire extinguishers and replace them if they’re expired or damaged.

Practicing a commonsense approach with these suggestions will help protect you and your family the next time you enjoy your favorite candle. Be candle smart!