Burning candles can have a significant impact on indoor air quality, both positive and negative. When thinking about Healthy Homes, burning candles indoors are frequently discussed. On one hand, candles can provide a pleasant, soothing ambiance in a room, and can even be used for aromatherapy purposes. However, if not used properly, candles can also release pollutants and particulates into the air, which can be harmful to your health.
One of the main concerns with burning candles is the release of soot. Soot is a byproduct of the combustion process and can be released into the air when candles burn. This soot can be inhaled and can cause respiratory problems, especially for people with asthma or other respiratory conditions. To minimize the amount of soot released, it is important to use candles made of high-quality wax, such as beeswax or soy wax, and to trim the wick to a reasonable length before lighting. To filter candle soot from the air, a furnace filter rated MERV 13 or higher is required.
Another concern is the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from candles. VOCs are chemicals that can be released into the air when certain materials burn. Some candles, particularly those made with paraffin wax, can release VOCs into the air. These chemicals can cause headaches, nausea, and other health problems. Again, choosing high-quality, natural wax candles can help reduce the amount of VOCs released.
Additionally, candles can also release particulates into the air. These tiny particles can be inhaled and can cause respiratory problems. This problem can be minimized by using a candle snuffer to extinguish the candle, which will prevent the release of ash and other particulates.
Burning candles can be a beautiful and soothing addition to any home, but it’s important to be aware of the potential negative impact on indoor air quality. To minimize the risks, choose high-quality, natural wax candles and use them properly. And if you have any respiratory condition, you should be extra careful and monitor the air quality of your home and avoid burning candles in your house if it becomes too smoky or if you start feeling unwell.