How Hot Is A Candle Flame? Discover The Science Behind It.

Have you ever wondered about the melting point of a tea light candle? The answer might surprise you. Tea light candles have a melting point of around 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit), which means they can turn into molten wax at high temperatures. Candle flames, on the other hand, can reach temperatures ranging from 1,000 to 1,400 degrees Celsius (1,832 – 2,552 degrees Fahrenheit). These temperatures are hot enough to melt some metals!

Understanding the melting point and temperature of a tea light candle flame is crucial for safety precautions. For example, touching the liquid wax or getting too close to the flame can result in burns and injuries. In fact, Michael Faraday discovered that there are different color zones in a candle flame: the blue zone is where combustion occurs and temperatures can reach up to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, while the yellow zone is cooler and less intense like a light bulb.

But it’s not just about temperature. Understanding the combustion process and the temperatures involved is crucial when dealing with candles. The light intensity or luminous intensity of a candle flame also plays an important role in our daily lives, but it’s important to note that the heat generated can melt the surrounding wax. Candles can reach temperatures of up to several hundred degrees Fahrenheit, depending on their size and composition. We use candles for decoration, light during power outages or romantic dinners, and even as a source of heat when camping. Knowing how hot a candle flame can get and the potential for molten wax helps us choose the right size and type of candle for our needs.

Science Behind Candle Flames: Why Flames Always Point Up and Sway

Hot air rises, causing the flame to point upward.

Have you ever wondered why a candle flame always points upwards? The science behind it is quite simple. When you light a candle, the wick draws up liquid wax molecules that are then heated by the flame. This heat causes the wax to melt and turn into a hot liquid. The hot liquid wax then travels up the wick through capillary action. As it reaches the top of the wick, the heat from the flame causes the liquid wax to vaporize and break down into molecules. These molecules then react with oxygen in the air, producing heat, light, and radiation. The hot air created by this process becomes less dense than the cooler air around it, so it rises. The glass surrounding the candle helps to trap and direct the flow of warm air, creating a continuous flow of air that keeps the flame burning.

This rising hot air also causes the flame of a typical candle, made using molten candle wax and wicks, to take on a teardrop shape. The hottest part of the flame is at the base where it meets the wick, and as it rises, it cools down and becomes less bright. This creates a gradient of temperature within the flame that gives it its characteristic shape in candle making.

The flickering motion of the flame is due to air currents around it.

If you’ve ever watched a beeswax candle flame closely, you may have noticed that its wicks burn slowly and produce less soot than other types of candles. The flame flickers and dances around even when there’s no breeze blowing, due to convection currents in the surrounding air. The glass surrounding the candle helps to contain the heat and radiation emitted by the flame.

As the beeswax candle burns, the wick steadily melts and releases heat, causing the surrounding air to warm up. Cooler air then rushes in, creating unpredictable and chaotic currents that can cause the flame to sway back and forth or even split into multiple smaller flames for a moment before rejoining into one larger one. The temperature of the soup on the nearby stove rises a few ºF due to the warmth of the candle.

The color of a candle’s flame can also give us clues about its temperature. A blue-colored flame indicates that it’s burning at a high temperature, usually above 1500 ºF, while an orange or yellow-colored one means that it’s burning at a lower temperature. This is because the hot air rising from the wick of the candle causes the carbon particles to heat up and glow, producing the colored flame we see.

The shape of the wick also affects how the flame behaves.

The wicks play a crucial role in determining how a candle burns. They need to be made from combustible materials that can catch fire and produce hot air, but not too much carbon that they burn too quickly. Adding soup to the wick mixture is not recommended.

The size and shape of the wick also affect how the flame behaves in a typical candle. A thicker wick is often used in paraffin candles to produce a larger flame, while a thinner one is preferred in candle making for a smaller flame. If the wick is too thin or too short, it may not be able to draw up enough wax to keep the flame burning steadily, which can be a problem for candle holders.

The type of wax used in candles can also affect how they burn. Beeswax candles, for example, burn more cleanly and produce less soot than paraffin wax candles. However, it is important to note that the burning temperature of beeswax candles is typically around 145 ºF, which may be lower than some other types of candles.

Which Part of a Candle Flame is the Hottest?

Have you ever wondered which part of a candle flame is the hottest in ºF? Is it the top yellow part or the blue base? Let’s dive into this topic and explore what makes a candle flame hot.

The Blue Part at the Base of the Flame is Hotter than the Yellow Part at the Top

The blue part at the base of a candle flame is, in fact, hotter than the yellow part at the top. This may come as a surprise to many people who assume that since blue represents cooler colors, it must be cooler than yellow. However,This assumption does not hold.

The reason why the blue part is hotter than yellow has to do with combustion. A candle flame requires three things to burn: fuel, oxygen, and heat. As wax vaporizes from the wick, it mixes with oxygen from air to produce heat and light. The hottest part of a flame is where complete combustion occurs because all fuel molecules are broken down completely.

In candle making, incomplete combustion can occur when the candle wick doesn’t provide enough oxygen for all molten candle wax molecules to break down completely. This results in the production of soot particles that emit light in shades of yellow and orange. To avoid incomplete combustion, it’s important to choose appropriate candle holders and ensure proper wick maintenance.

This Blue Part is Where Complete Combustion Occurs Producing More Heat

As mentioned earlier, complete combustion happens where there’s an adequate supply of oxygen for all fuel molecules to break down entirely into carbon dioxide and water vapor. This process releases more energy in form of heat and light compared to incomplete combustion. When making candles, the molten candle wax is used to produce the candle wick which, when lit, undergoes combustion to produce heat and light.

Therefore, if you want your candle to burn brighter or start fires quickly using another candle’s flame, you should always aim for lighting from its base rather than its top.

Knowing Which Part of a Candle Flame is Hottest Can Help with Lighting Other Candles or Starting Fires

Knowing which part of a candle flame burns hottest can be helpful when starting fires or lighting other candles. If you’re trying to light a candle with another candle, it’s better to touch the wick of the unlit candle to the base of the lit candle flame. This way, you’ll be transferring heat from the hottest part of the flame to ignite your new candle.

Similarly, when lighting a candle, it’s essential to hold the matchstick or lighter close enough to the candle wick and candle wax. This way, you’ll be supplying adequate heat for the candle wax to produce a flame and transfer heat to the surrounding area.

How to Avoid Getting Burned by a Candle Flame: Use a Snuffer or Wick Dipper

Candles have been used for centuries to provide light, ambiance, and even scent to homes. However, they can also be dangerous if not handled properly. One of the most common accidents associated with candles is burns caused by hot wax or flames. Fortunately, there are tools available that can help prevent these accidents from happening.

A snuffer can extinguish a candle without blowing hot wax everywhere.

A candle snuffer is a tool designed specifically for extinguishing candles. It consists of a cone-shaped cap attached to a handle. To use it, simply place the cap over the flame and wait for it to go out. The cap cuts off the oxygen supply to the flame, causing it to die down without spreading hot wax or smoke around.

Snuffers come in various shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose – to extinguish candles safely and efficiently. They are particularly useful when dealing with tall or hard-to-reach candles where blowing out the flame may not be practical.

A wick dipper can bend and submerge the wick into melted wax, putting out any remaining embers.

A wick dipper is another tool commonly used in candle care. It’s essentially a long metal rod with a curved end that allows you to bend and submerge the wick into melted wax. This helps put out any remaining embers while also coating the wick in wax so that it’s ready for lighting next time.

Wick dippers are especially useful when dealing with soy or beeswax candles that tend to produce more soot than paraffin wax candles. By dipping the wick into melted wax instead of blowing it out, you reduce the amount of smoke and soot produced during burning.

Using these tools instead of blowing out candles reduces fire hazards and prevents burns.

While blowing out candles may seem like the easiest way to extinguish them, it can actually be quite dangerous. Blowing on a candle can cause hot wax and embers to fly around, increasing the risk of burns or even starting a fire.

By using a snuffer or wick dipper instead, you eliminate this risk entirely. These tools allow you to put out the flame without disturbing the wax pool or causing any smoke or soot to escape.

In addition to using these tools, there are other steps you can take to prevent accidents when using candles. For example:

  • Always trim your wicks before lighting them. This helps prevent uneven burning and reduces the risk of fires.
  • Keep candles away from flammable objects such as curtains, paper, and furniture.
  • Never leave candles unattended while burning.
  • Consider switching to LED candles if you have pets or small children who may knock over lit candles.

By following these tips and using tools such as snuffers and wick dippers, you can enjoy the ambiance of candlelight without putting yourself or your home at risk.

Importance of Taking Precautions When Handling Candles

Candles are a popular source of lighting, decoration, and relaxation. However, they can also pose a significant risk if not handled with care.

Keep Candles Away from Flammable Materials

One of the most crucial safety tips when dealing with candles is to keep them away from flammable materials like curtains or paper products. The heat produced by a candle flame can ignite these materials and lead to an accidental fire.

To avoid such incidents, always place candles on stable surfaces that are clear of any flammable objects. Make sure that the area around the candle is free from clutter or debris that could catch fire.

Never Leave Burning Candles Unattended

Another critical precaution to take when handling candles is never leaving them unattended. It only takes a few seconds for an unattended candle to cause a fire that can quickly spread out of control.

If you need to leave the room or go outside while burning candles, make sure to blow them out first. Also, ensure that children and pets cannot reach burning candles as they may accidentally knock them over or get burned.

Properly Extinguish Candles After Use

Properly extinguishing candles after use is another essential step in preventing accidental fires. Many people assume blowing out the flame is enough; however, it’s essential to ensure there is no smoldering wick left behind.

To extinguish a candle correctly:

  1. Use a snuffer tool or wet cloth to put out the flame.
  2. Wait until the wax has cooled before touching or moving it.
  3. Trim any excess wick before relighting the candle next time.

Consider Using Candle Holders and Glass Containers

Using candle holders and glass containers can help reduce the risk of accidental fires caused by hot wax or flames. Candle holders provide a stable base for candles, preventing them from tipping over and spilling hot wax.

Glass containers can also help contain the heat produced by a candle flame, reducing the risk of accidental fires. However, it’s essential to ensure that the container is made of heat-resistant glass and that it’s placed on a stable surface.

Be Mindful of Candle Burns

Candle burns are another potential hazard when handling candles. Hot wax can spill onto skin or clothing, causing painful burns. To prevent this:

  • Always keep candles out of reach of children and pets.
  • Use caution when moving lit candles.
  • Avoid touching or moving hot wax with bare hands.

Choose Safe Candle Options

When choosing candles to use in your home, consider safer options like beeswax candles instead of paraffin ones. Beeswax candles produce less soot and do not release harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide into the air.

Avoid using too many candles in one area as this increases the risk of accidental fires. Always follow manufacturer instructions on how many candles should be used in a particular space.

The Various Purposes Candles Have Acquired Over Time

Candles have been used for centuries, dating back to ancient times when they were the only source of light after sunset. Today, candles have evolved to serve different purposes beyond lighting up a room.

Historical Uses of Candles

Before electricity was invented, candles were the primary source of light. They were made from tallow or beeswax and provided just enough light to read or move around a room. However, these early candles had their drawbacks; they produced a lot of smoke and had an unpleasant smell.

Modern Uses of Candles

Today, candles are used for many reasons beyond lighting up a room. Here are some popular uses:

  • Decoration: Candles come in different shapes, sizes and colors that can add warmth and ambiance to any space.
  • Relaxation: Aromatherapy candles with essential oils such as lavender or chamomile can help reduce stress levels.
  • Religious Ceremonies: Many religious ceremonies involve lighting candles as a symbol of prayer or offering.
  • Emergency Lighting: In case of power outages or emergencies, having a candle on hand can provide much-needed light.
  • Scented Candles: These types of candles come in various scents such as vanilla or cinnamon and can be used to mask unpleasant odors.

Types of Candles

Candles come in different sizes and shapes serving specific purposes:

  • Tea Lights: Small-sized candles that burn for 2-3 hours commonly used for decoration.
  • Votives: Shorter than tea lights but wider in diameter designed to fit into special holders.
  • Tapers: Long thin cylindrical-shaped candles usually placed in candlesticks during formal events like weddings or dinners.
  • Pillars: These are large-sized cylindrical-shaped candles that burn for a longer time and are commonly used for decoration.

The Chemistry of Candle Flames

A typical candle consists of a fuel source, usually wax molecules, and a wick made from cotton. When the wick is lit, it melts the wax near the wick creating liquid wax that travels up the wick through capillary action. As the liquid wax reaches the flame, it vaporizes into gas creating a yellow-colored flame.

Safety Tips When Using Candles

While candles can be useful in many ways, they pose some safety risks such as fire hazards. Here are some tips to ensure safe use:

  • Always place candles on heat-resistant surfaces or holders.
  • Keep candles away from flammable materials like curtains or papers.
  • Do not leave lit candles unattended especially around children or pets.
  • Avoid moving lit candles to avoid spilling hot wax or causing burns.

Understanding the Heat of a Candle Flame

In conclusion, candle flames are fascinating and can teach us a lot about science. We have learned that flames always point up due to convection currents, and they sway because of air movements. The hottest part of a candle flame is the blue part at the bottom, while the yellow part is cooler. To avoid getting burned by a candle flame, it’s essential to use a snuffer or wick dipper when extinguishing it. Taking precautions when handling candles is crucial to prevent accidents. Candles have served various purposes over time, from religious ceremonies to aromatherapy and home decor.

Remember to be cautious when handling candles and always follow safety guidelines. Whether you’re using candles for relaxation or decoration, make sure you keep them away from flammable objects and never leave them unattended.


Q: Can I touch the flame of a candle?

A: No, you should never touch the flame of a candle as it can burn your skin or cause other injuries.

Q: How long should I burn my candle?

A: It’s recommended to burn your candle for no longer than four hours at a time to prevent overheating and ensure its longevity.

Q: What type of wax is best for candles?

A: Soy wax is an eco-friendly option that burns cleanly and has a longer lifespan than paraffin wax.

Q: Can I reuse my candle jar after it’s finished burning?

A: Yes, you can clean out your candle jar and repurpose it for storage or decoration.

Q: How do I extinguish a candle safely?

A: Use a snuffer or wick dipper to extinguish your candle instead of blowing it out with your mouth or fingers. This prevents hot wax from splattering or causing burns.