Why Do Candles Flicker? Why Is My Candle Flame Moving So Much?

A dancing flame is a delight to watch. A burst of air causes the candle flame to sway that appeals to most of us. However, when it flickers too much and without any gust of wind, it ruins the very purpose of lighting a candle. 

Having an idea of why do candles flicker you can nearly fix this problem. This also makes your candle burn smoothly and enhances the lifespan of your candle.

When there is too much candle flame flickering, it becomes distracting rather than relaxing. Here we can’t blame it on the wind alone. A lot of other factors impact the candle wick flickering.

Have you been wondering why is my candle flame moving so much, you have all your queries answered here. If there’s no wind to move the flame, flickering can be caused by factors like ventilation, problems with candle wick, and impurities in the candle.

Candle Wick Flickering: A Common Candle Burning Occurrence

Our discussion centers around candle flickering, therefore, let’s talk about candle flickering first. 

A candle is meant to burn with a steady flame. However, when once in a while, it sways to and fro with an air current it is very obvious and normal. This is called candle wick flickering. Sometimes when the candle is about to reach the bottom, it moves a lot and appears to be unsteady. It usually happens with most candles.

But otherwise, when there is no wind or drafts around and the candle still flickers, it reminds you that something is wrong. It can be candle wax, the wick, and the soot or other particles sticking to the candle.

Wind Leads To A Candle Light Flicker

The most obvious cause of a candle flickering is the wind. Placing a burning candle in a room that has open windows or a strong draft will result in the wind moving the flame. This has the potential to shake the dancing flame and make it flicker.

Switching on an overhead fan in a room to beat the heat is something we can’t help when the temperature soars. But lighting a candle there is not a good idea. It can easily lead to candle flickering and uneven burning of the wax. 

Why Do Candles Flicker When There is No Wind: Factors To Consider

There are a few reasons why candles flicker when there is no wind around. While a candle flickering in the wind is obvious, one that flickers without wind has a story to tell. And that’s where you should put some attention towards the candle.

1. Dust And Moisture Settled In Candle Leads To A Flickering Candle

Dust particles can easily settle on the wax pool. If there’s high humidity, some moisture might make its way in too. Candle wax can lock moisture into it. High moisture content in the surroundings often penetrates the candle wax. 

Have you been thinking why is my candle flame flickering, despite the closed windows, look for this factor.

Wax is the fuel of a candle that travels via a wick to the flame. If on its way, it encounters any obstruction it will affect the stability of a flame. This irregularity disturbs the fuel supply for the flame. As the candle randomly gets low or high fuel, the flame begins to flicker. 

To prevent situations like these, using a candle with a lid or a dust cover can come in handy. Lids are not only a recommended way to put out a candle but safeguards your candle from dust and moisture. The dust settled can become tough to remove if not paid heed to. 

2. Does Your Candle’s Wax Pool Have Soot And Wick Ashes?

Every time you put out a candle and light it the next time, you must have seen a layer of black soot on the surface. The size of the wick has a lot to do with producing soot near the flame. 

A wick too short or too large will create an irregular burning pattern. And it will create undesirable soot on the candle. When the molten wax with the soot settled on it comes in contact with the flame, it causes candle wick flickering. 

Letting it go off nonchalantly with every candle burn will only hamper the steady performance of your candle. 

Besides, it is advisable to remove the burnt wick ashes that fall in the wax pool with every subsequent burn. This also makes your candle flicker. Remember the cleaner the wax surface is, the less your candle will flicker. 

When your candle cools just use a dry cotton cloth and wipe out any grime, dust, and other impurities gently.  

3. Trimming Candle Wick On Every Burn Can Help Your Candle Flicker Less

Image showing a wick trimmer with a wooden wick candle

A well-trimmed candle wick is important for the correct and desired functioning of a candle. Right-sized wicks help deal with problems like candle tunneling, uneven wax poos, overheating of the candle, candle flame flickering, and more.

Candlewick that seems large in proportion to a wax pool, when burnt will flicker and move high. On the other hand, a wick that is too small will also pose a similar issue. This disrupts the balance between the candle wax and the wick.

Ideally, you should trim the candle wick to about ¼ inch before lighting a candle. 

Additionally,  this also gives a cleaner and brighter burn. A pair of small scissors or a wick trimmer is an easy way to trim your candle wick. 

4. Pouring Temperature In Candle Making 

We may look for all the above-suggested factors that attribute to candle wick flickering. However, a little responsibility lies on the part of the manufacturer too. 

When you wonder why is my candle flame flickering, possibly the candle manufacturer has not paid heed to the pouring temperature. This is the temperature at which candle wax is ready to pour into the containers. Ideally most candle wax has a pouring temperature ranging between 150 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 

For soy wax, there is a slight variation in the pouring temperature. It is around 120 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

When there is a mistake in keeping a track of the pouring temperature it does make your candle flicker. This is because when the wax solidifies it will have an uneven surface. When you light such a candle, it will cause the wick to flicker.

Moreover, it will result in a scent and wax blend that is not uniform. And when you light the candle, the wick will flicker when it comes in contact with fragrance or essential oil.

The shape of a normal steady flame is a teardrop. The sudden burst of wind moving a candle flame is too obvious to question. However, we listed the most notable causes that can make a candle light flicker. 

A dancing flame is a delight to watch and a bit of flickering is normal. However, by following a few preventive measures we can if not combat but diminish this candle issue. 

Preventive Measures And Tips To Prevent Candle Flickering

A flickering candle is not only annoying but can lead to unpleasant situations too. Sometimes when a candle flickers it may grow large and sway strongly. Here if it comes in contact with anything flammable, it can ignite a fire. It can lead to more soot and smoke emission. Especially if it’s a paraffin candle

Candle flickering makes your candle burn fast as more heat sucks up more wax quickly. You may see your candle burning unevenly and eventually are left with leftover candle wax at the bottom. 

We list down a few preventive measures or tips that can considerably help you overcome this issue.

  • Always trim your candle’s wick to ¼ inches on every burn.
  • If it’s a jar candle always cover your candle with a lid to safeguard it from dust and moisture.
  • For candles without a lid, cover them with any fabric like a small cotton cloth.
  • Using a dry cotton cloth always keep the wax pool clean of debris.
  • If your candle has an uneven wax pool, use a knife to cut the wax until you get a flat surface. 
  • Place your candle away from open windows and drafts.
  • Switch off the overhead fan or AC when lighting a candle. 

External And Internal Factors Have A Role In Candle Wick Flickering

On most celebrated occasions we often hung up to lighting a scented candle and create our very best moments. However, what if on a romantic date you light a candle for creating a romantic setting but instead it turns the other way around? Your expensive candle flickers constantly and you wonder why is my candle flame moving so much.

This is a spoiler for sure. And you are left with no other option than to put out a candle. Having an idea of why do candles flicker can be a savior for your candles and your special moments too. Covering the candles with a lid, trimming the wicks on every burn, or cleaning the wax pool are simple yet effective tips that do work.

It’s not only about having a smooth candle-burning experience. Candle flickering can be potentially hazardous. If left unresolved, it can create a fire hazard or lead to a lot of soot and smoke emission.