A candle with a flame that is too tall can become a real problem in a few different ways so it is not something you just want to ignore. You have to figure out why it is happening and remedy it. So let’s take a look at some of the reasons a candle flame might be so high.
Why is my candle flame so high? A high candle flame is caused by a wick that needs to be trimmed, the wick size was too large, the type of wax being used, fragrance oil load, or the candle has been burning too long. It is usually due to improper burn practices, however, it can be due to manufacturer error as well.
One of the more important things to remember about a candle with a flame that’s too tall is that it is robbing your candle of precious burn time. A flame that is too high is a flame that is too hot.
When the flame of a candle is too hot it melts more wax than is necessary and it burns the candle up faster than is intended. It also becomes a potential hazard because most candles are in glass containers, if the glass is overheated it can fracture. Then you have a real mess on your hands.
Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the reasons a candle flame might be so high and what you can do to remedy it.
Why A Candle Flame Is Too High
Reasons Why A Candle Flame Is Too High
- Wick Needs Trimming
- Wick Is Too Large
- Type of Wick Being Used
- Type of Wax Being Used
- Fragrance Oil Load
- Candle Has Burned Too Long
Wick Needs Trimming
If the candle flame is too tall then the cause might simply be a wick that is too long. After a candle has burned long enough the wick can become long and cause the flame to burn a little higher than it normally would otherwise burn.
In addition to becoming longer, after a candle burns for a while the wick be become mushroomed. A mushrooming wick is caused by carbon build up from the hydrocarbons that are used to fuel the flame.
In most cases the suggested length for a wick is 1/4 of an inch and with a flame that is no taller than 1 inch. To extend the life of your candle you should trim the wick within this range after ever use.
Wick Is Too Large
The wick that was put in the candle when it was made could be too large for the container size or type of wax being used.
When a wick is too large the flame will be bigger, it will burn hotter, and the melt pool of wax will be deeper. This is a problem because when the melt pool gets too deep, it can cause the wick to slump after a long burn.
When this happens to the wick it can heat one side of the container more than another and that can cause the container to fracture.
When making candles it is a good practice to make test candles when using a new wax and fragrance oil combination. Mix up enough wax and fragrance oil for a test pour of three or four candles. Then place a different size wick in each jar.
Use the suggested size from the manufacturer and then the size below it and the size above it. Then burn test all of them at the same time and see which one performs the best.
If you want to learn more about proper wick sizing then visit our article Candle Wicks 101.
Type of Wick Being Used
Certain wicks are made for specific types of wax and containers. If a wick designed for paraffin wax or beeswax is used in a soy wax candle then it will burn hot.
In this scenario, the flame will be too tall and too hot. This will give a similar result as a wick that is too big. It will create a deep melt pool and overheat the container.
This is why it is important to test different wick sizes and types in your candles before you start selling them.
If you want to learn more about wick types then visit our article How To Make A Candle Wick.
Type of Wax Being Used
Different blends of wax have different melt points. The wick used in a paraffin/soy blend will be bigger than a wick to be used in a coconut wax candle.
So you have to pay attention to the type of wax a wick is designed for, not just the container size.
This is why it is important to label everything.
Keep all of your different types of wicks in different boxes, bags, or whatever sorting system you use, and make sure they are all labeled.
Fragrance Oil Load
Fragrance oil burns much easier than candle wax. If you add more fragrance oil to your candles it is going to be more fuel for the flame.
So when making candles the difference in a 3% fragrance oil load and a 10% load might be the difference in a wick size.
You need to keep this in mind when using different types of fragrance oils and waxes that all have different load ranges.
If you want to learn more about fragrance oils for candle making then visit our article about Measuring Fragrance Oil For Candle Making.
Candle Has Burned Too Long
Even if a wick, candle, and fragrance oil are all perfectly matched, a candle can still get a flame that is high after it burns long enough.
Over time when a candle burns, carbon will still build up on the wick increasing the size of the flame. The wax in the container and the container itself will increase in temperature the longer the candle burns.
All of this combined will contribute toward the flame getting hotter, taller, and having more fuel readily available.
This is why you should never burn a candle longer than 4 hours unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Candle flames should be between 1/2 and 2 inches in length depending on the size of the candle and the type of wick you are using. However, most candles will be closer to the 1/2 inch mark than they will be to the 2-inch mark. The flame should be burning steady with no movement and producing no soot or smoke.
Mushrooming is caused by carbon buildup in the candle wick. This can be due to a wick that is too large. To avoid mushrooming candle wicks trim your wick regularly and do not burn your candle longer than 4 hours without trimming the wick.
Why is my candle flame so high and flickering?
An untrimmed candle wick or drafts can both make a candle flame high and flickering. If the wick is untrimmed it can begin mushrooming which will cause it to mushroom and bun irregularly. Likewise, a draft can cause a wick to burn irregularly and fluctuate in how much fuel it uses.
In conclusion, there are several different reasons why a candle flame might become too tall. A few of these are within the grasp of the candle user to manage by using proper burn times and wick maintenance.
However, the majority of the cases rest on the candle maker. If you are experiencing any of these problems with candles that you’ve made just remember trial and error.
Label everything, document everything, make multiple test candles to test a new formula before you pour a whole batch to sell to your customers.
A new candle maker should go through dozens of test candles.
Offer them to friends or family and get their feedback, burn some yourself so you can document them every step of the way.
All of this is worth making sure that you do not have to refund a dozen customers for faulty candles or risk being sued if something happens.