Candles are mesmerizing and unique, which has led many people to search for meaning in their flames.
However, there are many reasons why a candle flame might flicker. If you’ve ever wondered why candles flicker, this article will explain the possible reasons why this is happening.
If you want the quick and simple answer, here is why a candle flickers with no wind. There are several reasons why a candle can flicker with no wind. The main reasons are impurities in the wax or wick, the heat generated by the candle mixing with the cool air surrounding the candle. However the usual cause is actually a draft that is too small for you to feel.
Here are 7 reasons why you may find a candle flickers without wind inside your home.
Reason No. 1: Wind/draft
The first reason why candles flicker is because of the wind. I know the title implies that there is no wind, but it is still a possibility, even if you can’t feel it, there can easily be a draft.
There are many factors to consider, such as the age of your house, how old your windows and doors are, whether you have a window open somewhere, a fan going or a missing weather strip on your front door.
All of these things can affect the movement of air in your home.
In older houses, you might even see curtains move when it’s particularly windy outside. Thus, if a draft is strong enough to make a curtain move, it’s definitely strong enough to make a candle flame flicker.
Reason No.2: Movement in your home
When you’re moving around a room, your body can create a breeze that is strong enough for a candle to flicker.
You might not be alone, and so someone else’s movement could also be a trigger – even a pet’s! This can happen even if they’re in the hallway, for example.
Do you have ceiling fans? This might seem an obvious reason, but many people are so used to them in their homes that they forget they’re even there.
The movement of a ceiling fan can certainly affect the air in the room enough to move candle flames considerably.
Reason No.3: The wick has imperfections
The candle wick itself could also be a cause of a candle flame flickering. If the wick was manufactured with any little faults, this might cause flickering.
What’s more, when candles burn, carbon builds up. This causes them to ‘mushroom’ and deform, making the flame irregular. This phenomenon can be prevented by trimming the wick to a ¼ inch length after each time you’ve used it.
It’s also not a good idea to burn a candle for more than four hours at once for this reason. Trimming the wick also makes the candle last longer. It can also stop the problem of having a flame that is too big or high.
Reason No. 4: The wax has impurities or moisture
Interestingly, the wax itself could be causing the candle to flicker in different ways. The wax is the candle’s fuel. The wick itself doesn’t feed the flame. Rather, it’s like a pilot light in a gas boiler, with the wax being the gas.
The candle works as the flame heats the wax. When it is heated and melted, the wick draws up the wax and burns as a vapour. So essentially, the candle burns the vapour of the wax. This is the reason why your candle will smoke when you extinguish the flame, too.
With this in mind, we can now understand how impurities in the wax, like tiny debris, crystals, or air bubbles, can disrupt the wax as it flows up the wick towards the flame. The same goes for the different types of fragrance oils and essential oils in scented candles.
Reason No.5: Incorrectly stored candles
A candle might flicker due to how it has been stored. Think about how you stored the candle before you used it. Was it in a place that can collect dirt, dust, or grime? Was it lidded? Could it have drawn moisture from anywhere?
Let’s say you left your candle next to your shower for six months, and you didn’t have a lid on it. As a result, it probably collected moisture and dust, which affects how it burns.
With this in mind, always protect your candles when they’re not in use—keeping them in zip lock bags after cooling is a good idea. What’s more, a darker place will keep the candle fresh.
Reason No.6: The flame itself
The candle’s flame itself could be causing it to flicker.
Since flames heat the air and hot air rises, the air will be moving around and thus, the flame is affected.
Speaking if the candles own heat, have you ever wondered if you can heat a room with a candle? Check out my article to find out if its possible!
Reason No.7: Manufacturing issue
Your candle’s flame might be flickering due to something that happened during manufacture.
It might be that there was a manufacturing fault like it was poured too hot or too cold. Perhaps the wrong wick was used, or the wick was faulty.
Another reason could be that they used the wrong ratio of scent to wax. Or, there could be simple air pockets in the wax.
There are so many different scenarios that could happen during manufacture to cause a candle to flicker when lit.
How to stop a candle flame flickering
If the flickering is bothering you, you can try to eliminate some of the common causes of flickering.
Firstly, move the candle away from any windows, doorways, fans or other possible places where the air might be moving.
Next, keep the candle wick properly trimmed in order to prevent any carbon build-up and top stop the wax ‘mushrooming’.
If these steps have been followed and you’ve still got a flickering candle, there’s not much you can do as it is probably something to do with the candle’s manufacture.
Are flickering candles dangerous?
While flickering candles are not dangerous, it does mean that it isn’t burning as it should. If you notice a candle flickering that hasn’t previously flickered, blow it out and try to figure out what is causing it to flicker.
For example, you could move it to a different location and trim the wick to see if that helps.
Other flame movements
As well as flickering, you might notice candle flames wiggle.
The wiggling effect occurs because when the flame generates heat, it creates an updraft. This updraft is the reason why flames have a teardrop shape.
The rise in hot air causes the flame to wiggle as the candle is burning. As long as the candle is away from drafts and has a wick that is trimmed, you don’t need to worry about a wiggling flame.
Final thoughts – why does my candle flicker with no wind?
As we’ve seen, there are many reasons why candles can flicker even if there is no wind. It could be that there is a draft that you can’t feel, the wick might need trimming, there might be movement in the room or a problem with the manufacture of the wick or wax.
Whatever the reason for your flickering candle, it is generally a harmless issue. As long as your candles are away from draughts and curtains, for example, there should be no problem if your candle flickers.
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