The array of scented candles available has never been greater. A few years back candle scents were mostly fruity, floral or spicy; today, as aromatherapy has gained prominence, all sorts of aromas are deemed to have nose appeal, such as amber and smoke or leather and mahogany.

While candles lend a comforting touch to our homes, it’s important to understand how they might affect indoor air quality. Unfortunately, as a candle’s wick burns down, it could be releasing some toxic chemicals and clogging air filters.

Candles and IAQ

When you burn paraffin candles, they release some of the same chemicals that diesel fuel releases: benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde. These petroleum-based candles are the most common in the marketplace and are also the worst offenders; the scented models are laden with even more harmful chemicals.

Lighting numerous candles in an unventilated area also may lead to irritations of the respiratory tract, and can aggravate allergies and cause flare-ups of asthma.

Effects of Candles on Your HVAC System

If you regularly burn candles, the smoke is drifting onto your walls, and unfortunately, into the return air of your HVAC system and inside your ductwork. As soot from the candles enters the HVAC, it will dirty your air filter more quickly than would happen otherwise, so that you need to change the filter more frequently.

What to Do

Besides avoiding petroleum-based candles, you can limit the effects of candles on indoor air quality by:

  • Limiting burning candles for less than an hour at a time.
  • Avoiding candles with long wicks.
  • Avoiding drafts on candle flame, which will spread chemicals and soot.
  • Burning soy- or beeswax-based candles instead of paraffin.

For more tips about improving your indoor air quality, read other Jackson and Sons blogs. Or, contact us today about scheduling maintenance, repairs, or a new installation.

Jackson & Sons, Inc.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Eastern North Carolina (including Wayne, Johnston, Greene, Lenoir, Pitt and Duplin Counties) about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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