Do Candles Give Out Carbon Monoxide? – Everything You Need To Know
Many of us love having candles in our home, providing ambience and a calming effect when lit and not to mention great decor, but did you know candles could potentially cause health issues such as carbon monoxide poisoning?
Candles can produce small levels of carbon monoxide due to the process of combustion which lights the candle. This will unlikely lead to carbon monoxide poisoning however as the amount is so small, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take some protective measures too.
In our guide below we will cover an introduction of carbon monoxide, how carbon dioxide candles work and some safety tips for burning candles at home to keep you safe.
What Causes Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Carbon monoxide is a gas which when inhaled within large amounts can become a big health risk, especially for people with breathing problems or the elderly. This gas takes over when appliances such as the cooker are left one without knowing.
The gas is typically only dangerous if you are in an enclosed space or a space with very little ventilation as this causes levels to multiply.
Anything with an exhaust can give doses of carbon monoxide, some common causes are –
- Gas heaters.
- Car in a closed garage.
This gas, in particular, is deadly as it is silent and you don’t know it’s affecting you until it already has, it produces common symptoms in people such as –
- Flu-like symptoms.
- Memory loss.
- Being light-headed.
How To Stop Candles From Causing Carbon Monoxide Poison
Now we know the symptoms of carbon monoxide and how it works, let’s cover how candles can contribute to a level of carbon monoxide in your home.
Candles give a form of carbon monoxide from their chemical reaction that takes place to produce heat and light. The wax when burned on a candle reacts with the oxygen in the air to make carbon monoxide.
A paraffin candle for example produces around 10 grams of carbon dioxide in an hour.
Even though it is a little amount of carbon monoxide for health concerns from candles, you can reduce the risk by only using your candles in well-ventilated areas with windows and doors open.
We have listed some ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home below.
- Keep windows open – Good ventilation in your home can help lowers the levels of carbon monoxide emitted from your candle and keeps fresh air circulating.
- Get appliances checked – Make sure a professional in your home checks all your appliances at least once a year such as your gas stove or water heater to make sure everything is working how it should be.
- Get a carbon monoxide detector – Carbon monoxide detectors can save your life and should be in every house, they will alert you as soon as the carbon monoxide levels in your home get too high, you should get these inspected every year to make sure they are working correctly too.
Safety Tips For Burning Candles Inside
As long as you take some safety precautions, you can still enjoy burning candles in your home with no issues, we have listed some of our best safety tips for burning candles inside below.
Consider Where It Is
If you are burning candles in a place, make sure the area is out of reach from children and pets which could potentially knock the candle.
Your candle should always be at a height on a stable surface to keep it out of reach.
Never Sleep With a Candle On
Never sleep with a candle on, there are so many risks that comes with it, for example, your candle is a fire hazard and could shatter or fall during the night without you even knowing.
Candles also let off chemicals that are not healthy to inhale all night while you are sleeping, especially carbon monoxide!
Keep It Away From Flammables
Always keep your candle far from curtains or any other flammable items, this is a huge fire hazard and could become out of control before you know.
Avoid Burning For Too Long
We would recommend never burning your candle for periods longer than 4 hours, this is because it can lead to a large wax pool and losing the wick of the candle which is a hazard.
Do Not Burn Too Many Together
Burning multiple candles close together can cause drafts and compound problems which are fire hazards, it also makes a room very flammable, instead place them out evenly around a room.
Never Leave Candles Unattended
You should never leave your candle in a room unattended, anything could happen while you leave it alone, instead, you should blow the candle out before leaving the room or leave someone in charge of it instead.
Frequently Asked Questions About Candles & Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Are paraffin candles dangerous?
Paraffin candles are one of the most dangerous types of candle wax, they are often the cheapest kinds of candles and release harmful chemicals when burned. Most candles are now made with beeswax or soy wax instead which is much safer.
What are some safer alternatives to candles?
Some great alternatives to candles are electric candles or oil burners, one can still provide great ambience while the other one is great for aromatherapy too.
What are the chances of getting carbon monoxide poisoning from candles?
The chances of getting carbon monoxide poisoning from a candle are very small, you would have to have multiple candles lit in a room with no ventilation in a small space for any chance. Lighting one candle at a time is pretty safe in a ventilated space.
However, you can always get a carbon monoxide detector to be on the safer side inside of your home.
Why are drafts dangerous for candles?
It is dangerous to have candles lit in a room with lots of drafts as it can lead to uneven burning of the candle and cause flare-ups which are a potential fire hazard.
Are scented candles bad for your health?
Yes, some scented candles made of cheap fragrances can be dangerous to inhale for long periods, they should once again be used in a ventilated area as the VOCs released from them can clog the air you inhale, especially with synthetic fragrances.
To find safe scented candles you should look for ones made with natural essential oils from plants that do not give off toxic fumes when inhaled.
To conclude, candles do give off carbon monoxide, however, the amount they give off is very small and will unlikely cause any poisoning compared to other appliances in your home. To lower carbon monoxide from your candles you should use them in a ventilated area to promote better air circulation, also avoid sleeping with them on and leaving them unattended.
We always recommend taking precautions in your home with a carbon monoxide alarm, this can alert you to high levels of this poisonous gas before it’s too late.
Kirsten Carter is a freelance content writer who specialises in writing about travel, technology and health. When she’s not traveling between her home of Tanzania and England, she writes for her blog Rightminded Travelling and features on a variety of different travel and technology sites.