Candles are a simple and accessible way to create a relaxing ambiance around the home. They’re a favorite gift for almost any occasion and offer homeowners a way to personalize their homes even more.

But are candles safe for the air? We separate fact from fiction to answer your burning questions!

Are Candles Bad for Indoor Air Quality?

In most cases, the chemicals in scented candles are made from paraffin. Paraffin-based waxes are derived from petroleum and can emit trace amounts of several harmful chemicals, including:

  • Benzene
  • Acetaldehyde
  • Formaldehyde

Candles don’t release enough of these chemicals to impact human health. Recent studies have also debunked claims that candles increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and other respiratory diseases. Still, individuals with allergies, asthma or other underlying respiratory conditions may be more sensitive to candle smoke or fragrances. If you notice any changes to your health or increased eye, nose and throat irritation, it might worth taking a look at your candles – more on that in a bit.

Do Candles Give off Carbon Monoxide?

Candles have also been blamed for causing elevated carbon monoxide levels. Occasional headlines linking carbon monoxide poisoning to candles usually referred to recalled products or candles with wooden wicks. Carbon monoxide from candles doesn’t’ pose a health risk if your home’s ventilation system is well-maintained and functioning properly.

Five Tips for Burning Candles Indoors Safely

To be clear, even the safest candles emit low levels of chemicals, smoke, and soot. You can reduce exposure to airborne irritants like smoke and soot by following these five tips.

1. Read the label. Many candles advertised or packaged as soy or beeswax are actually blended with paraffin. If you’re concerned about the chemicals in candles, opt for natural substances like palm oil, soy, beeswax, and vegetable oil.

2. Keep your space ventilated. Only burn candles in an open, well-ventilated area. If you burn candles in your bedroom or bathroom to relax, keep the door open and consider using a quiet fan to circulate air or an air purifier to filter the candle exhaust.

3. Set a timer. Even if you’ve opted for safe candles made from natural substances, don’t overdo it. Evidence suggests limiting candle use to four hours or less to avoid letting smoke or chemicals build up indoors.

4. Just the wax, please. Candles with dried flowers, fruit, or wood embedded in the wax look pretty but pose a real fire hazard. These decorative elements have been linked to an increased risk of catching fire if left burning too long.

5. Follow your nose. It may not be candle smoke if you notice symptoms like itchy eyes, nose, throat or difficulty breathing. In most cases, it’s the fragrances in candles that trigger allergic reactions. If you’re sensitive to fragrance ingredients in other household products, such as detergents or soaps, you may experience similar symptoms around scented candles.

If you’re wondering what else could cause breathing issues at home, we can help. Get to the bottom of poor indoor air quality by contacting your local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning.

Enjoying Candles Requires Common Scents

Savor the scents of the season safely by burning candles in a well-ventilated space and limiting it to an hour or two. From maintaining excellent indoor air quality to keeping every room in your home comfortable and cozy, trust One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning.

Our punctual and professional technicians will help you breathe easy in your home with top-notch HVAC services. Book an appointment or call (800) 893-3523 today!