Candles sales in the United States amount to an estimated $2 billion annually.  This doesn’t include the accessories that go with them.  Candles are found in 7 out of 10 households.  Did you know that more than one billion pounds of wax are used each year to produce candles in America?  Thirty-five per cent of annual sales of candles are during the Christmas holiday.  The glow of candles gives a beautiful ambiance to any room in the house.  However, fires from candles can bring about serious damage and risks to all.

One-half of home candle fires start because they have been placed too close to combustible material.  The majority of candle fires are because of human error and negligence.  There are more than 15,000 residential fires in the U.S. annually that are caused by careless use of candles.  Candles left burning in the bedroom are where the majority of fires begin.  According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the hours between Midnight and 6 a.m. account for one-half of all deaths resulting from candle fires.

A common-sense approach to the use of candles in your home is the best.  With that in mind, here are some tips:

  • Each time you burn candles, trim the wicks ¼” before you burn them.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended; keep them within your sight.
  • Don’t burn them all the way down.
  • Keep candles away from children or pets.
  • Always use candleholders.
  • Place them in a well-ventilated room, and on a stable surface.
  • Avoid vents, drafts, and air currents.
  • When putting the candle out, be sure it is completely out.

One last grim reminder:  December is the peak month for fires that are started by candles.

The top five most dangerous days for fires from candles are, in order:

(1) Christmas Day,

(2) Christmas Eve,

3) New Year’s Day,

(4) New Year’s Eve, and

(5) Halloween.

There’s nothing more beautiful than candles to give your home that perfect atmosphere.  They also present fragrance to the environment, which adds to a festive mood.  We certainly don’t want to rain on your holiday parade, and encourage you to decorate anytime with your favorite types of candles.  Just exercise the same caution that you would with any open flame.

U.S. Fire Administration
National Candle Association