Written By Jennifer Niskanen, November 2015
If you love candles as much as I do, you don 't want to waste a single drop of wax. When the flame begins to drop below the top-level of wax, leaving a dry, hard ring that just won 't melt, it 's called candle tunneling. If you 've spent extra money to buy a quality, long-burning candle, you obviously want to get everything you 've paid for out of it, not just the center.
Novice cancel fans might be mistaken into thinking that 's just how certain candles are, but there are things you can do to help your candles burn evenly and efficiently with as little residual wax as possible. Over time though, especially with larger containers, the candle will become harder to light or it will go out, as wax burns from the top and it might not relight at all. You can even lose your wick entirely.
Start Clean to Burn Clean
The first burn, and the size of the initial wax pool, sets the stage for everything. The longer your candle burns, the bigger the opening for future use. You might not even want to trim the wick that first time if it 's a wider container because a bigger, hotter flame could be the only way to melt the wax all the way out to the edge. But smoke and soot are never good for the wax, so keep a careful eye out for problems like that. Extinguish the candle right away and trim it back a little if you see anything like that.
Tunneling is not only ugly, it 's wasteful. There shouldn 't be dark soot on the glass jar and it should melt cleanly and evenly for roughly 14 inch. Burn the candle for one hour, for every inch in width, depending on the wax and its quality, getting as close to the edge of the container ...
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...sing a hurricane vase or tall cylinder outdoors seems like an easy solution, but it can also rob the flame of the oxygen it needs. It will suck in more air from the top, but the heated air also needs to get out. This can actually cause air turbulence and a draft of its own, and the flame will flicker. You might have noticed that the further down a tall container candle burns, the more soot and smoke there is. This is what is going on and causing the problem.
The best draft shields are open at both ends, allowing you to raise the container up by half an inch. You can also buy candle cappers for jar-style containers to help regulate air flow. The most important thing you can do though is to properly trim your wick to about 14 inch. If the flame starts flickering after it has burned a while, and there is no draft, put it out and trim it again.
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