Is Your Candle Flame Too High? Here’s How to Fix It

Why is my candle flame so high? Help!

If your candle flame looks unusually tall, then it's probably burning too hot and causing your wax to melt faster than it's supposed to. Not only will your candle not last as long, a high flame can lead to a bunch of other issues as well.

In this short article, we'll explain why that's bad and how to fix a candle flame that's too high.

Is Your Candle Flame is Too High?

The ideal flame size for smaller candles should be between 1/2 to 1 inch, measured from the bottom of the flame arc to the tip. 

In this case, "small" includes your typical 12 oz. luxury candle from the Harlem Candle Company. This is also the normal flame height for votives, travel candles, and other small container candles. 

A flame that reaches up to 2 inches can be normal for pillars and large taper candles. Any higher than that and it might be problematic and could be a fire hazard. Per ASTM safety standards, the maximum allowable flame height for indoor candles is 3 inches (with the exception of certain religious candles).

One way to tell if your candle flame is too high is if it's flickering and smoking a lot. You might also notice that your candle flame starts out at a normal size after you light it, but gradually grows larger over time. When that happens, it's a good time to extinguish the flame and trim the wick

Why It's a Problem

There are several reasons why a high candle flame can be problematic.

First, it shortens your candle’s burn time when the flame is burning too hot. An excessively large flame causes wax to be absorbed faster than it can be burned. This decreases your precious candle's life span, causes the production of smoke and soot, and may result in tunneling

Second, a high flame can become a fire hazard — especially when it's in close proximity to flammable items around the house like curtains, blinds, decorations, clothing, and paper. A good rule of thumb is to keep the area clear within a 1-foot circle of a burning candle.

A candle flame that's too high might even shatter the glass candle jar. Because glass is a poor conductor of heat, when the wax touching the edge of a glass is too hot, the heat can fracture the glass. 

How to Fix It

Most of the time, a high candle flame is a problem with a simple fix. 

The most common reason for a tall flame is when the length of your candle wick is too long. You can fix this issue by using a wick trimmer to cut your wick down to 1/4 inch above the solid wax before every burn and once every 4 hours if you like to keep it burning. 

When you have a long piece of exposed wick, an larger-than-necessary amount of wax is pulled upwards by the force of capillary action into the flame, causing it to overheat. By controlling the length of your candle wick, you limit the amount of fuel being burned in your candle. This results in a calm and beautiful flame.

Trimming your candle regularly also increases the lifespan of your candle, minimizes smoke and soot production, and prevents tunneling. 

If you trimmed your wick but it's still too high, then the problem most likely lies with the candle itself. For example, when the candle wick is too thick, it draws in too much wax and causes the flame to burn hotter and higher than it's supposed to. Other potential factors also includes the type of wax, fragrance oils, and other additives used to make the candle. 

Fortunately, you won’t run into this issue with our meticulously hand-crafted luxury candles from the Harlem Candle Company. 

By keeping an eye on the height of your candle flame, you can keep your candles healthy and make your candle burning experience all the more joyful!