Even though they’ve been used for centuries and sold by the millions, paraffin candles aren’t good for indoor air quality. They emit chemicals when they’re burning that not only harm living things, but they’re also hard on your HVAC system.
Paraffin is made from petroleum, which releases harmful substances into the air when it’s burned. Many of these are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause mild to serious physical reactions and conditions. They can cause respiratory or skin irritations or conditions as serious as nervous system damage or cancer.
Among the harmful particles candles release, soot sits high on the list for being both harmful and annoying. Soot is classified as a dangerous particulate because it’s so small it can lodge deep in your lungs. It also collects on air filters for HVAC systems and other indoor surfaces. Soot clogs porous materials like the air filter and your lungs and prevents the free flow of air.
Scented candles pack a double whammy. You’ll breathe the soot and VOCs in the candles along with the chemicals in the perfumes.
Managing Air Quality
There are safe alternatives to paraffin candles that won’t affect your indoor air quality. Look for those made from beeswax or soybean oil. They don’t emit VOCs or soot when burned. If you’d like scented candles, look for those that use essential oils made from herbs, flowers or other vegetation. It’s also helpful to buy candles from reputable manufacturers.
It’s also possible to minimize the damage that paraffin candles do by:
- Burning them in a draft-free area.
- Trimming the wick so that the candle burns without smoking.
- Buying unscented candles.
- Venting your home efficiently. An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) gives you a is a way to pull in fresh air to replace stale air without driving up energy costs.
Maintaining high indoor air quality is important to your family’s health and besides these candle options and tips, there are other ways to ensure the IAQ stays healthy. For more information, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions, providing HVAC services for Orlando-area homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).