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How To Stop Your Candle Tunneling

When your candles burn down, you may find that one candle is longer than the rest. This is called tunneling. It can be annoying as you have to keep checking each bar to make sure it’s still touching the other ones, but also frustrating when all of a sudden one burns down really quickly because it burned through too fast!

The reason for this happens is that as the flame melts some of the wax, or sometimes the wick gets pulled out completely. If this occurs then there are two things that need to change. Either reduce the length of time per batch, or increase the diameter of the wick.

This article will talk about how to do both of these! Best way to prevent candle tunneling.

Not enough wax

how to stop your candle tunneling

Sometimes, when trying to burn a candle, you may find that it will not burn for one of two reasons: there is not enough wax or the shape of the wick does not allow adequate air to reach the middle of the flame.

If you notice your candle becoming longer in length but still will not light, then you have run out of wax! You can either buy more wax, which is usually possible at stores that sell candles, or save some melted wax from another candle to refresh the new one.

You could also try using a lighter to ignite the needed amount of wax, but this may require touching the tip of the wick which could cause burning or sooty hands.

Alternatively, if the wicks are very thick, use a thinner one as a replacement. If the wick is too thin, however, then it may break causing an ugly mess.

How to Check For Properly-Thin Wicks

By looking at the candle while it burns, you can tell if its wick is thin enough by whether or not there is a glow coming up from within the body of the candle. This requires careful observation as sometimes their natural flicker causes people to mistake them for having no fire.

Too much wax

how to stop your candle tunneling

When your candle burns down, there is always some leftover melted wax. Sometimes this can cause problems when the tip of the candle gets stuck as it melts down. This is called candle burning through or tunneling.

When this happens, you have to either re-wick the candle or use a new one. Re-winding a burnt out candle will not work and instead results in ugly scars from all the pieces of burnt wick that remain.

So what are the top causes for candle burnthrough? If you notice any of these symptoms, stop using the product and start over!

Too much wax

We all like to admire our candles after we take them off the shelf, so why not go ahead and add some more color to their life? Unfortunately, too many touches may break down the layer of protection that keeps the wax solid inside the stick.

Wax also helps protect the flame which could be why sometimes people who burn very hot candles (like those with tall thin flames) have burn through issues.

Thin protective layers of wax can be scraped away easily, making the surface more exposed to air and potentially causing a fire or explosion.

Not blowing out properly

how to stop your candle tunneling

When your candle burns down, you may notice that it starts to get longer and thinner. This is called candle tunneling. While this can be fun to watch, it does not help the candle burn more completely or faster!

If you noticed your candle getting shorter and thicker as it burned down, then stop burning it and instead put some of the remaining wax into another similar length candle. Once it has melted, pour the new candle onto your current candle and let it set for several minutes. Then repeat with the other side.

This will use up all the extra wax in the container, preventing any further expansion and tunneling.

Too much wax on the wick

how to stop your candle tunneling

When your candle burns down, you may notice that it starts to ooze or stream of melted wax as it consumes all of its fuel. This is called wax pooling.

This can be annoying as this sometimes requires you to continually re-wick the candle or blow out the remaining flame which will then melt more wax!

It also may indicate that the tip of the wick has been poked through the surface of the molten wax, creating a channel for the liquid to seep. In this case, the longer the candle is burned, the bigger the problem becomes since there is less top surface area that can absorb the excess wax.

So what can cause candles to poof up too much wax? There are several things. Sometimes, people use very hot melts (meltables) in their decorations, so they may not properly settle into the hardened wax.

If your candle looks like it has gone black at the end, that could be due to burnout caused by lack of light. However, most commonly, the wick gets wet and begins burning faster than normal, causing the foam earlier.

We recommend always checking your votive candles’ tips after using them to make sure they have fully dried. If they do look slightly wet, try rubbing off any leftover drops with a paper towel.

Not enough wax on the wick

how to stop your candle tunneling

Sometimes, even though your candle will not burn down completely, you can still feel uncomfortable using it. This is because there is not enough wax coating the surface of the wick.

If this happens, then either go up one setting on the burner or put in more time trying to melt the rest of the melted wax off. Or both! The best way to determine if this has happened is by looking at the candle when it is done. If the top is just white-no color, it may have burned all the way through and nothing was seen underneath.

This could be due to the candle having no longer needed all of the wax that it had before, so it just dried out and wasted away.

Too close to the flame

how to stop your candle tunneling

The next thing you will notice is your candle starting to burn more quickly. This happens because as the top of the candle gets warmer, it wants to expand in size. When it does this, there is not enough space for the amount of melted wax that it contains, so it has to break down and expand outside of the vessel.

As such, the length of the wick is shorter and it burns faster than normal. You can also see this when you hold the tip of the candle up to a light source and it flashes off and away very quickly.

This is called tunneling or scorching. Because the candle is burning so fast, there isn’t time to create an even layer of hardened wax at the bottom of the container, and thus some liquid makes its way out.

Too far from the flame

how to stop your candle tunneling

A common beginner mistake is putting your candle too far away from the burning surface, creating an empty space instead of a tunnel. When this happens, the wax in the bottle sometimes melts and then bubbles up through the wick, causing some interesting shapes!

This can also cause the candle to burn more quickly, because there’s less air getting replaced by hot wax as it oxidizes.

Never put your candle farther than two-thirds of its length into the melted wax! If you need to take it off for something, leave at least one whole stick so that you can re-light it easily.

Another way to prevent candle overflow is to use tall candles. Because they are taller, they require fewer layers of wax to be fully submerged, preventing overmelting. Use these tips if you notice your candle burning faster or if its shape is not right!

Stringy candles should be cut in half to help them burn properly and evenly.

Flaming too fast

how to stop your candle tunneling

Sometimes, when you burn your candles very quickly, they can get stuck. This happens because as the candle heats up, it expands and then there is not enough air to keep burning so it starts to bubble or foam.

When this happens, the surface of the wax glows with heat but no visible smoke comes out, which makes the candle look weird and interesting.

This could be due to a number of things, however, most commonly people either forget to put their torch down after baking for a while or the flame gets buried under the wax as the candle burns down.

Either way, the flames are still warm and going strong, just like before, only now there’s more oxygen and thus faster combustion, leading to tunneling.

How to stop flaming candles

Sadly, stopping flaming candles is not quite as simple as putting them out! There are several reasons why this happens and none of them are totally foolproof.

That said, there are some tricks that work in almost every case. So let’s have a closer look at those next time you want to extinguish your candle.

Reminder: Never use water to put out a candle! That will simply lengthen the flame and possibly even cause it to spit or explode.

Also, make sure your hands are clean before attempting to take the top off your candle. You don’t want any lingering oils or butter to catch fire.

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