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How Much Heat Does a Candle Produce?

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As candles have an open flame, they produce a small amount of heat when lit. Although this heat is nowhere near as powerful as electric or central heating, it can still be used to our advantage, especially if there is a power outage.

Today, I will look at the possibility of using candles as a heat source. When I first considered this idea, one of the first things I looked at was how much heat one candle actually produces. I wanted to know how many candles I would need to heat a room and whether it is actually possible to do this.

Yes, you really can use candles as a heat source. Before you decide to put away your electric heater, however, there are some important things to consider. We will take a look at these in more detail. Let’s dive in.

How Much Heat a Candle Produces

Luckily for us, researchers have investigated how much heat a candle produces. The research was based on petroleum candles, which are the most common type of candle. A petroleum candle burns just over 2mg of wax every second.

heat from candles

I was very thankful when I realized that the next part has already been calculated for me – Science is definitely not my specialty! Candle wax contains roughly 37 kilojoules of energy in every gram. That means that one candle will produce 80W of heat.

When thinking about how much heat a candle produces, you of course need to think about the size of the candle. A smaller candle, such as a tealight, has a shorter burn time than bigger candles. The burn time is usually only 3-4 hours. If you are looking to heat a room for a longer period of time, you will need to consider using larger candles.

The only problem with using larger candles instead of tealights is the additional cost involved. Larger candles can cost anywhere from $20-$50. This may not have been too much of a problem if you are only buying one candle. With the amount of heat being produced, it’s definitely clear that I would need a lot more candles!

Using Candles as a Heat Source

If, like me, you don’t understand what 80W of heat actually means, just know that it isn’t enough for a candle to be a viable heat source. Just for a comparison, a standard electric heater will produce roughly 1600W of heat and if you are using central heating, even more heat may be being produced in your home.

So theoretically, it would be possible to use candles as a heat source, you would just need a lot of them! There are several factors to consider that affect how well candles will heat your room.

The first is, of course, the size of the room. The bigger the room you are trying to heat, the more candles you will need. Another contributing factor will be the outside temperature. The colder it is outside, the colder your home will be. Even a couple of degrees lower can reduce the effectiveness of the heat being produced by the candles.

Other features of your home can also affect the candles’ heat source. If your home is well insulated and has blinds or curtains at the windows, heat is less likely to escape through the walls, windows, or roof. Having these things in your home will make it easier to heat your rooms using candles.

How Many Would You Need?

If we consider that an electric heater produces 1600W of heat compared to 80W from a candle, to get the same amount of heat as the heater, you would need to burn 20 candles! Baring in mind the burn time of candles, you would also need to replace them frequently!

how many candles would you need for heat

So if you are using tealights that burn for only 3-4 hours, in a 12 hour period, you would need to burn between 60 and 80 candles.

Now that sounds expensive! Even if you bought cheaper candles, the sheer number that you would need every day may end up being just as expensive, or even more expensive, than using traditional heating sources.

Are candles safe?

There are several safety concerns when using candles as a heat source. Of course, we all know that candles are a fire hazard. The typical safety advice when burning candles is to burn them on a high surface, away from flammable objects such as curtains and table cloths. You also need to make sure the candles are on a flat surface.

However, if you are burning 20 candles in one room, finding 20 different spaces that fit the safety criteria would be extremely difficult. If you do happen to have enough space in your room to burn the candles with minimal risk of something catching on fire, you should still try to have a fan running on the lowest setting.

The fan will help to distribute the heat around the room and prevent all of the heat gathering in one area. As open flames are such big fire risks, it is also important to keep your eyes on the candles at all times. Don’t leave that many candles unattended for even a small amount of time as fire can spread quickly.

using candles as a heat source

If you have children or pets in your home, you should always make sure that they cannot touch the candles. Not only could they knock over the candle, causing a fire but they could also burn themselves if they touch the open flame.

Another safety concern with burning this many candles at one time is the number of toxins that are in paraffin candles. Burning paraffin can worsen the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory disorders. Additionally, the toxins in paraffin have been linked to certain cancers.

Burning this many candles may therefore have a negative impact on your health. To protect my family, I would want to burn candles that don’t have any toxins, such as beeswax candles. However, this comes with its own set of challenges, not least the extra expense of buying these pricier candles.

If you do decide to burn candles as a heat source, or even if you’re just a candle lover in general, having some type of ventilation in your home can really help. This is especially true if you are burning candles in a smaller room.

Having good ventilation will help to release some of the toxic chemicals outside your home, as well as allowing fresh air into your home.

Best way to use candles as a heat source

If you feel strongly that using candles as a heat source is something you are interested in, it is possible to create your own heater using a flowerpot. The flower pot helps to create a centralized heat source, which should be more effective in heating a room.

The heat that is produced from the candle is contained within the flower pot, rather than being released into the air. The flower pot can more effectively absorb the heat from the candles and radiate it into the room.

You can easily find instructions for making a flower pot heater online and make one yourself at home. Just ensure you are paying attention to any safety warnings.

Although you may not want to use a flower pot heater regularly, it may be a good backup in the case of an emergency.

Is using a candle as a heat source a good idea?

Deciding whether using candles as a heat source is a good idea for you can be difficult, as there are many factors to consider. Personally, I would only use candles for heat in the case of an emergency, such as a power cut.

There are several reasons I came to this decision, including the safety concerns, risk of fire, and the effort involved in maintaining the heat from the candles throughout the day.

Another reason I believe that using candles as a heat source may not be very practical is because of the soot that is released into your home when you burn candles. The majority of candles you find in stores are made from paraffin. When you burn paraffin candles, they produce soot.

What some people don’t realize, is that soot can cause your curtains, walls, and furniture to turn black. Now imagine you are burning a lot of candles in your home every day. The soot damage could become a real problem. As someone who has a lot of white walls and pale furnishings, the last thing I want to see is black marks.

If you do decide that you want to try burning candles as a heat source, bear in mind the commitment that is involved. Ensure your candles are in safe places around the room and that your room has some kind of ventilation.

It’s great to know that candles have more uses than just looking and smelling nice! If I’m ever stuck in a situation where I have no electricity, at least I can rely on candles to keep my family warm.