How does burning candles effect home air quality?


Most of us have candles in our home, whether we use them for special occasions or everyday use.  Although they can exude a beautiful smell in your home, they can also decrease air quality. 


Candles release irritants into the air that we breathe.  Did you know that the air in our homes could be dirtier than the air outside if not properly taken care of?

Candles are made up of paraffin wax and petroleum by product.  Paraffin is colorless and odorless and melts easily however it is not the most beneficial wax.


A burning candle releases benzene (which is a toxic chemical that has been linked to cancer), toluene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein and soot.  The more impurities a candle contains the more soot it produces.  As we burn candles, these toxins enter and get trapped in our duct work.  This allows the toxins to travel throughout our home.  The emissions from a paraffin wax candle contain several toxins that are produced by burning diesel fuel.  It is like running a diesel engine inside your home!


FLAME FACT:  The yellow part of a flame marks where carbon materials do not burn fully, while the blue part of the flame marks where carbon materials burn clean.  This means that the more yellow color in the flame, the more soot and impurities are released into the air.

Here are some recommendations to keep candle burning in your home safe and healthy.

Switch to Bee’s wax or Soy candles.  These candles last longer than paraffin candles and burn cooler and safer.  They produce very little soot and clean easily with a little soap and water.


Look out for a shiny metal wire that could be in the wick of the candle.  Those that aren’t made in the United States often contain zinc or lead. 


  • Stick to candles made in the United States.

  • Keep your wicks trimmed.  Keep your wick trimmed to one quarter inch in length. The result is a more complete combustion and less soot.

  • Don’t buy candles that advertise that they are slow burning.  Many of these candles contain additives that are dangerous.  Typically, these candles are very greasy to the touch.  Stick with all-natural candles.

  • Candles in jars produce more soot.  If you notice a dark ring around the lip of the jar this could be an indication of lead dust from a metal wick.

  • Stick to a one our maximum burning time.


If you worry that that the indoor quality of your home has experienced effects from burning candles, we can provide you with air quality service and solutions that bring your home air up to higher, healthier standards.  Call 72 Degrees Comfort Company today at (515) 292-7272 to schedule an appointment.


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