Can Candles cause Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Can Candles Cause Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Can candles cause carbon monoxide poisoning?

Quite a number of us use candles in our homes. But many of us do not know the harmful effects of these candles. The burning of a candle is used to add ambience and fragrance to our homes. And here comes the question, “Can candles cause carbon monoxide poisoning?” This guide will shed more light on what carbon monoxide is, its effects, how it works, and safety precautions for burning candles at home and answer the nagging question. You do not want to endanger your health just because of the calming effects and ambience you derive from the candle’s burning. Let’s find out.

What is Carbon Monoxide? (CO)

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas formed as a result of the incomplete combustion of fuel. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas. It is often a silent killer because the gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.
When someone is exposed to carbon monoxide gas, the gas molecules of CO displace the oxygen in the person’s body, leading to poisoning.
The human sense can’t detect Carbon monoxide. A Carbon monoxide Detector can only detect carbon monoxide.
This goes further to explain that there can be a build-up of dangerous concentrations of carbon monoxide in our homes, and it can go unnoticed by humans until people become ill.
The victim’s symptoms can easily be ignored initially because they can be as simple as flu.
The “CDC” that about 400 people die from accidental exposure to carbon monoxide annually.
For more, refer to the data portal for carbon monoxide.
What can cause Carbon monoxide poisoning or common sources of carbon monoxide in the home
Fuel-burning appliances in the homes or an attached garage are likely to emit carbon monoxide

Wood stoves
Tobacco, smoke
Grills, Generators
Lawn equipment
Motor vehicles
Gas stoves and oven
Fireplaces (both wood & gas) burning
Water heater
Charcoal grills
Gas heaters

Can Candles cause Carbon monoxide poisoning?

The answer is YES!

Candles produce carbon monoxide. A candle can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Regardless that the candle is scented or unscented, candles produce a measurable amount of carbon monoxide. The carbon monoxide produced is a relatively small amount but measurable.
When candles are put in a small enclosed space with poor ventilation, it is highly dangerous as the CO emitted gets mixed with the air you breathe in.
However, Candles should not be left burning in a small enclosed space.

Risk factors for carbon monoxide poisoning

1. Poorly ventilated rooms
2. Running a car in a closed garage
3. Enclosed rooms or spaces
4. Fuel burning appliances that are poorly vented

Why you should not leave a burning candle in a closed room

  • The Carbon Monoxide emitted in a candle burning in a closed room will build up to dangerous concentration, and this can cause serious health issues
  • It can cause a fire outbreak. The candle can fall off and cause a fire outbreak, which can be disastrous.

Do Candles give off carbon monoxide?

The answer is YES!

This is made clear by how candles work. The candle produces heat while giving light. The chemical reaction that takes place is combustion. The reaction produces carbon monoxide. The quantity of carbon monoxide produced is dependent on the number of candles.
If you must burn candles at all, make do with fewer candles and do so in a well-ventilated space.

Is it bad to burn Candles at home?

Candles can be burnt at home; ensure to burn candles in a properly ventilated space. This allows a way of escape for the carbon monoxide produced and, in turn, reduces the harmful effect of its use.

Is it dangerous to sleep with Candles on

For whatever reason, anyone has to put on the candle while sleeping, be it for calming effects or relaxing effects, the fragrance. Preference should be given safety above all.
Dangers of Sleeping with Candles on

1. Possibility of candle flashover or secondary ignition

A candle flashover occurs when the burning wick catches flames from melted wax. When this occurs, the candle goes from a steady flutter of light to a blaze of fire within a twinkle of an eye. You can only put out the fire immediately if you are awake. However, this is not possible when you are fast asleep. And this can cause the flame to spread to close objects and cause an outbreak of fire.

2. Glass can break

The commonly used object as a candle holder is glass. Glass can shatter once it becomes very hot. The glass can explode from heat, and the shards produced can get shattered in all directions and cause injury.

3. The Wax can leak

When the glass holder shatters or glass is on the surface that cracks easily, it can cause the wax to leak. Wax leakage ought not to cause a fire, but it causes damage to the candle stand surface.
If you’re awake, you can easily clean the wax, but it isn’t possible when asleep, and the wax becomes hardened and not easy to clean.

4. It can get tipped over

Can Candles cause Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

A pet movement and small children around the house can easily knock over the candle and cause the candle to fall off and cause the nearby object to catch fire. An instance of a pet like a cat can easily cause a tip-over.

5. Candles can be toxic

Some candles made of paraffin release chemicals that cause air pollution. The chemicals contaminate the air. This can cause health issues. You are at a higher risk when there is poor ventilation. This makes CO more dangerous.

Why do people sleep with a candle lit

Can Candles cause Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The reason people want to sleep with candles on is not farfetched from the fact that

  • Candles have a calming effect and are visually relaxing
  • The fragrance of the candle

Quite a several people find a candle lit as calming and relaxing. The sparkle of the lit can be soothing.
However, It is worth noting that if using candles to bring ambience into the room, it is also important to know that the calming flames can no longer be seen or smell its fragrance after falling asleep.

Alternatives options to the candlelit to sleep

Other alternatives to candles can equally give the calming and relaxing effect of a candle lit in the home. And these options come with no fear of burning down the house.

1. Salt lamps

Himalayan salt lamps help to brighten the mood in the room. One of the various benefits of this lamp is that.

  • It helps in cleaning the air
  • It promotes sleep
  • It helps to reduce anxiety
  • Good for allergies
  • Brightens up mood
  • There is no risk involved
    One that I have used personally and can recommend is  Large authentic Himalayan Rock salt lamp

2. Battery Operated Candles/lights

There are candles without flames that are battery-operated. They come in different designs and shapes to fit the room decor. The only downside is that you have to keep charging the battery once it runs out. This is still a safer option to candles with flames that can cause fire outbreaks in the home.
I picked up some lately, and I can recommend that they are good and I got the ambience I desired. They are quite affordable, and most importantly, I find them calming and relaxing in my bedroom Enpornk Flameless Candles

3. Oil diffuser

Most people sleep with candles to get a soothing fragrance that aids them to sleep. A great option for a candle, in this instance, is Oil diffuser.

  • This also helps to alleviate health issues
  • The smell is relaxing; you get the feel of a spa
  • The essential oil also helps to alleviate breathing problems
  • For those who have asthma, also humidifying the room

I recommend an InnoGear Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser. With Relaxing Essential oil set as this is what I use personally.

How to prevent Carbon monoxide poisoning

There are precautions and safety measures to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. This helps you to stay healthy and safe from tragic happenings. This helps to keep a check on the carbon monoxide in the environment.

(1) A Carbon monoxide Detector

Get a Carbon monoxide detector. This helps to determine the amount and concentration of carbon monoxide. When the detector begins to give you signals, you swing into action immediately to rectify any impending health risk.
Take note: You must only lit a candle in a well-ventilated room or space. Be modest about the use of candles as well. As much as you want the ambiance, strike a balance and consider your health.

(2) Do not sleep with candles lit on

As earlier discussed in this guide, sleeping with candles on can be disastrous in several ways. You can lit the candles, but ensure to put them out when you are about to sleep. After all, after you fall asleep, you are not enjoying the visual ambience and fragrance again.

Is it safe to burn candles at home?

You can burn candles at home but ensure you do so in a well-ventilated room/space.
Ensure to reduce to the barest minimum the number of candles you burn. And do not sleep with your candles on

Is it dangerous to sleep with candles on?

Yes! It is
It can cause a fire outbreak. Safety comes first

How many hours can you burn a candle?

The recommended time for a candle to burn is about 4 hours. Take time to read through the manufacturer’s warning on usage and, if uncertain, put it out after 4 hours.

Safe ways to burn a Candle

Here are a few safety precautions to note in putting on a candle at home. You can have your candle on and still minimize the risk involved.
1. Always keep the candle on a stable surface
2. Ensure that candles are burnt in a well-ventilated space.
3. Read the manufacturer’s guide and follow the length of time recommended for burning your candle.
4. Ensure the candle is at a safe distance and not close to flammable objects.
5. Reduce soot emission and wick from popping by trimming the wick
6. Ensure candles are away from breezes to prevent flame ignition from nearby objects.

Can burning candles cause carbon monoxide?

Yes! The carbon monoxide produced is small but measurable and can, over time, build up in the environment.

Carbon monoxide from candles

The carbon monoxide from the candle is quite small, but it is measurable.

Also Read: How to light a candle without a lighter

Q: Can candles cause carbon monoxide poisoning?

A: No, candles typically do not produce carbon monoxide. They burn by a combustion process that doesn’t involve the carbon-containing materials necessary for carbon monoxide formation.

Q: Are there any risks associated with burning candles indoors?

A: While candles themselves do not produce carbon monoxide, burning them in an inadequately ventilated space may contribute to indoor air pollution. To minimize risks, ensure proper ventilation, and avoid burning candles for extended periods.

Q: Can scented candles release harmful substances?

A: Some scented candles may release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when burned. While not directly related to carbon monoxide, prolonged exposure to VOCs in poorly ventilated areas may have health implications. Opt for candles with natural ingredients when possible.

Q: How can I safely burn candles indoors?

A: Ensure the room is well-ventilated. Never leave candles unattended, and keep them away from flammable materials. Trim wicks to ¼ inch to prevent excessive soot and ensure an even burn.

Q: Can using multiple candles increase the risk of carbon monoxide?

A: No, the number of candles itself is not a factor in carbon monoxide production. However, using many candles in an enclosed space can contribute to indoor air quality issues, so proper ventilation is crucial.

Q: Is it safe to burn candles in a small, enclosed space, like a bathroom?

A: Burning candles in a small, enclosed space without proper ventilation can lead to air quality issues. If using candles in such spaces, ensure adequate ventilation to minimize the risk of respiratory irritation.

Q: Are there carbon monoxide risks from other sources during a power outage when candles are used for lighting?

A: The primary risk during a power outage comes from improper use of alternative heating sources, not candles. Ensure proper ventilation and avoid using combustion-based sources indoors.

Q: Can candles produce other harmful byproducts?

A: The combustion of candles can produce soot and particulate matter, which, if excessive, may pose respiratory risks. Choosing high-quality candles and proper ventilation can mitigate these concerns.

Q: What should I do if I suspect carbon monoxide poisoning?

A: If you experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning (headache, dizziness, nausea), leave the area immediately, seek fresh air, and contact emergency services. Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home for added safety.

While candles themselves are not a significant source of carbon monoxide, practicing safe usage and maintaining good ventilation is essential to minimize potential risks associated with indoor candle burning.


Candles emit carbon monoxide of a fact. However, the level is small but is measurable. It can result in carbon monoxide poisoning if adequate precautions are not taken. This is why we talked extensively about using your candle safely and healthily.
You do not have to compromise the choice of healthy living to ambience.

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