Candles are beautiful and strange, and this has led people to see meaning in candles beyond what is really happening. The flickering of a flame in a seemingly calm room can be explained in several ways. Let’s take a look. Why does my candle flicker when there is no wind?
Candles flicker with no wind because of impurities in the candle and because of carbon build-up. The wick and wax can both contain impurities or air bubbles from the manufacturing process that can cause an irregular flame. Carbon also builds upon the wick as it burns and makes it burn irregularly.
In addition, just because you do not feel or notice a draft in your home does not mean that one isn’t there. Something unnoticeable to us can be dramatic to a candle flame. Is it normal for a candle to flicker?
It can be normal for candles to flicker. If they are exposed to a draft it is normal for a candle to flicker as the air moves across the flame. In addition, a flame that is getting too much or too little air, or has too much or too little fuel (wax) to burn can also appear to flicker.
This can also affect the rate at which the candle flickers, which can seem odd when you are in a room that doesn’t appear to have much of a draft. However, what doesn’t feel like much to us is a big deal for a candle flame.
Why is my candle flickering so fast? When a draft begins to make a candle flicker, it starts burning irregularly. This can cause it to draw too much wax, which can speed carbon build-up or “mushrooming” on the wick. This inconsistent fuel source can cause the candle to begin flickering more quickly.
Reasons Candles Flicker
Reasons Why A Candle Will Flicker
I know the question suggests that there is no wind, but this is still a possible cause. As stated above, just because YOU do not feel it, doesn’t mean the candle doesn’t feel it.
How old is your home? When is the last time your windows were replaced? Are you sure they are even shut all the way? Do you have weather strips on your doors?
All of those questions play in to the air movement in your house.
In older homes you can sometimes see the curtains move when a good wind is blowing through. If it is strong enough to move a curtain, it is strong enough to disrupt a candle flame.
In addition, a fan blowing in another room can move air through your entire home. Even if you can not feel it, a candle might.
If you are moving around your house that can also create enough of a breeze to make your candle flicker. Perhaps you are not home alone, someone walking down the hallway near your room can even do it.
Are you using a ceiling fan? I know this one seems a little obvious but sometimes we forget they are there.
These are just a few things to consider when diagnosing your mystery flicker.
The wick its self can be causing it. If the wick the manufacturer put in the candle had any thing wrong with it, that can be causing your problem.
Additionally, candle wicks build up carbon as they burn. This causes them to deform or “mushroom” and the flame becomes irregular.
You can prevent this by trimming your wick to a length of 1/4 of an inch after each use, and by not burning your candle longer than 4 hours at a time. This is also good for the longevity of your candle.
This is actually very interesting. Wax can cause a candle to flicker in a few different ways. A candlewick does not actually feed the flame, it is the candle wax. The wick is like the pilot light and the wax is like the gas.
The flame heats the wax, which is drawn up the wick and burns as a vapor. Yes, your candle is basically burning wax vapor. This is also why a candle smokes when you blow it out, you can read about that in my article here.
So if there are any impurities in the wax or air bubbles this can disrupt the flow of fuel to the flame and cause it to burn irregularly.
How did you store the candle? I do not want to point fingers, but it could be your fault. Did you leave it somewhere that it can collect dust, dirt, and grime? Did it have a lid on it? Was it somewhere it can draw moisture?
If you left the candle beside your sink or shower and let it collect dist and moisture do not act confused as to why its burning funny!
You should always cover your candle, or place it in a zip-lock freezer bag once it cools. Then you can place it in a dark place so that it stays fresh.
The candle flame itself can be causing the flicker.
Let me explain.
Flames produce heat, heat always rises, rising heat moves through the air. That can cause air to move around that can in return affect the flame of the candle. This is also dependent on the type of container the candle is in, but it is a possibility.
The candle manufacturer could have simply messed something up when they made the candle. Pour it at the wrong temperature, used the wrong type of wick, added the wrong amount of scent additive, or added the wrong kind.
There are literally a dozen things that can happen during the manufacturing of the candle that can cause this problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you stop a candle flame from flickering?
Prevent a candle from flickering by keeping it away from windows, walkways, fans, and other sources of air movement. In addition, keep the wick properly trimmed to prevent carbon buildup and wax mushrooming. Following these steps will keep the candle burning steady and smooth as the manufacturer intended.
Is a flickering candle dangerous?
A flickering candle is not dangerous but it is a sign that the candle is not burning as intended. If your candle is flicking blow it out and assess what could be causing it to flicker and then remedy the situation. Possible solutions could be moving it away from a doorway, walkway or trimming the wick.
Why do flames wiggle?
Candle flames wiggle because the heat generated by the flame creates the candle’s own updraft which gives the flame its teardrop shape. This rising heat can cause the flame to appear to wiggle or flicker as the candle burns. If the candle is away from drafts and the wick is properly trimmed this is not anything to worry about.
Do candles leave soot on walls?
Candles that are not properly burning can produce soot and smoke that can end up on your walls. This is due to the candle flame being exposed to a draft or the wick not being properly trimmed. Candles should always be placed away from sources of drafts and the wick should be trimmed after every use.
Why do I have black soot in my house?
Improperly burning candles can produce black soot or smoke. Candle wax is a hydrocarbon and when partially burned it can produce black smoke or soot. This soot can fill your room, stain your walls, and pose a health threat in some cases. It is important to make sure your candle is properly placed and properly trimmed at all times.
Why is my candle flickering so much?
Candles that flicker a lot without a draft likely have a wick issue such as mushrooming or a clogging wick. This can happen due to the wrong size wick being used, too much dye being used, too much fragrance oil being used or because of the use of something such as mica or crayons.
In conclusion, you can see there are literally a dozen ways or more in which your candle’s flame can be affected, even if you think there isn’t any wind or a draft. It can be anything from a draft to a problem with the wick of your candle. These can range from improper burning practices to an error in the manufacturing process.
All we can do is keep our candles with trimmed wicks, store them properly, keep them away from drafts, and and hope the manufacturer did their part when making the candle. Everything else we have to leave the rest up to chance.
If you take the time to properly place your candle, keep the wick trimmed, and follow the manufacturer suggested burn times then the vast majority of the time you will not have any problems with your candle. In addition, you or your customers will get the most out of your candles when using them.