The Dangers of Tea Light Candles

Tea light candle left to burn on it's own on a tel - What can happen if you leave a tea light without a suitable holder on a television or any other surface.
November 9, 2007 11:13am CST
The other day I was listening to Radio 2 and there was a show about what a fire hazard Tea Light candles are, I was quite shocked to hear how lethal they actually are. If not in the right kind of holder they can set fire to the surface below them, and apparently some holders are not sufficient to protect the surface below from catching fire. The fire service are trying to have better warnings printed on the boxes they come in or get them banned altogether. Being a Wiccan I do quite a lot of candle magic and find tea lights convenient and useful as they come in a variety of colours and burn for a short time. I always new to put them on a suitable plate or in a holder but apparently some holders do not protect you adequately anyway, and some people think the tin tray the wax is contained in is safe to leave the candle in, it ISN'T. I've included a picture of what can happen if you leave a Tea Light on top of a telvision without a holder, it's scary.
5 people like this
18 responses
@Savvynlady (3686)
• United States
10 Nov 07
I buy them for my oils specifically, so they are in the warmer and used for that purpose. I basically use that in the bathroom to keep up a nice scent because those candles don't hold real good by itself. they are in flimsy containers that could go on fire just as quick so it is best to use them for the intended purpose and use them properly.
2 people like this
10 Nov 07
Yes they are OK used properly it's only if people just leave them on a surface or leave them unattended that it's dangerous
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Nov 07
Yes tea candles are safe if used correctly. They need to be put in a proper candle holder. The foil holders they come in are not candle holders. The candle holder should be placed on a fireproof plate with a little sand on the plate for extra safety. They should be away from cutains & other flameable material. Personally I perfer the 7 day candles.
2 people like this
10 Nov 07
Good advice.
1 person likes this
@jwfarrimond (4478)
10 Nov 07
These days most people are not aware of the dangers that an open flame presents because they do not have to deal with candles and open fires on a day to day basis like our ancestors did. Candles should always be in a metal holder, and small ones like tealights placed on a metal plate well away from any combustible materiels like paper, fabrics or plastics. A candle probably would not set fire to solid wood, but that could not be guaranteed. And never ever leave a lit candle unattented. Thanks for bringing this subject up.
2 people like this
10 Nov 07
Yes that's very true the advent of central heating and electric light has made us forget about fire safety.
1 person likes this
18 Nov 07
Thanks for the best response:)
@irene_27 (545)
• Philippines
10 Nov 07
That was quite an eye opener for me reading your post. I think all along they're so far the safest just because they have holders unlike those long and tall ones. But then it's a good thing that I have this small glass pyrex that's shaped like a small bowl for my candleholder. This is where i put my lighted tea light before going to sleep. I feel what i've been doing is right all along. Thanks for that added info anyway.
10 Nov 07
The foil tin is not a holder and won't give protection so it's good you used a candle holder anyway. :)
1 person likes this
@razcal2267 (15577)
• United States
10 Nov 07
I just do understand how some can think that Tea Light Candles are not dangerous or can be left burning in their "shell" and nothing will happen. They are candles after all. You would not put pillar candled on a piece of tin so why would that be sufficient for a Tea Light Candles? Thanks for including the picture. Some would not have understood your warning without it.
10 Nov 07
Yes people don't understand that the metal around the edge is not a holder and wax escapes from them then can catch fire.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Nov 07
The candle holder should be put in a fire proof container that has about a half an inch of sand in the bottom.
2 people like this
10 Nov 07
That's a good thing to do if you have to leave the candle unattended.
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43945)
• United States
10 Nov 07
I too am wiccan/pagan and use a lot of candles myself, but I've always been very careful about them. Most of my candles I use are the tall pillar types but have them secured on a special holder, or use those glass contained candles. I also use a lot of tealights too, but I have specially designed tealight holders and have never, ever just let them burn in those self-contained tin holders. Anyone who just burns tealights without them being in special holders is just asking for trouble
2 people like this
10 Nov 07
yes I usually burn pillar candles too and when I use tea lights it's in an oil burner or a holder. I got some really cute little candle holders for Tea Lights in the shape of pumpkins around Halloween that I really like too, I'll probably keep them out all year and use them.
1 person likes this
@bonbon664 (3480)
• Canada
9 Nov 07
I had no idea either. I was under the impression that they were fairly safe becasue of their little foil holders. I did a bad bad thing just the other night. I left a pillar candle burning.....and when I got up, it was still lit, and had burned a hole through the candle, and there was a stream of wax running down through the hole down the front of the tv onto the carpet. Scared the bejeepers out of me. I have tea lights going all the time in the bottom of those tart burner thingies.
2 people like this
9 Nov 07
I have an oil burner I use Tea Lights in I think they are safe in one of those as long as you remember to keep putting water in them.
1 person likes this
@maximax8 (27060)
9 Nov 07
So many people do not understand that candles can be dangerous. My sister's mother in law lit a candle staying s prayer for the girl that went missing in Portugal. She went to sleep and forgot about the candle. It set her curtains on light! She went out of her flat and tried to find someone to help her. But her flat burned and burned. The fire even spread to some of the neighboring flats. Oh, my. The fire got so out of hand until the fire brigade turned up. Her flat and the others were dangerous until made safe again. She and her neighbors had to go and stay in a hotel for weeks. Her clothes all turned black and many of her outfits were completely ruined. She lost most of her possessions including her passport. I suggest that people should take care around candles. Fires can be terrible. I have a smoke alarm fitted in my home. Thanks for discussing the danger of fire.
2 people like this
9 Nov 07
Yes people are not aware enough of dangerous candles can be if not used properly.
1 person likes this
9 Nov 07
Do you know what, it's amazing exactly how many people don't understand the dangers of candles. And if I'm brutally honest, I'm probably one of them. I do always put my tea lights and candles in suitable holders, but I very often leave the room for ages leaving them unattended. Nothing has ever happened yet, thank god, but I know how easy it can happen. I have, on a couple of occasions, left a tea light on a wooden table without a plate or something underneath it and it's burnt a massive ring on the table, but to be honest, I'm fortunate that is all that has happened to me! More people should be made aware of the dangers, thanks for doing that!
2 people like this
9 Nov 07
It is worrying there re not adequate warnings on the packages these candles come in, if there are they are small print and no one reads them.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Nov 07
Wow that is very surprising to hear i will never use tea lies ever again. I can't believe that tea light candles are that dangerous. Thank you for the information on this.
2 people like this
@jennybianca (12919)
• Australia
10 Nov 07
You are spot on here with the dangers of candles. A few days ago I started a discussion on fires... had anyone been involved in a fire.... and the great majority of the respondents mentioned candles being involved. I let my 14 year old daughter light candles in her room, but really I am thinking I maybe should stop this. She is responsible, but even so a gust a wind could blow the flame onto her papers. A very good discussion you have brought up here.
@TerryZ (22148)
• United States
9 Nov 07
Hi nancyrowina Last year I found the bigger tealights and thought oh this is great they will last alot longer. I like to burn tarts alot. So I tried the larger tea light and about one hour later it caught fire. That was the scaryest thing ever for me. They dont make the larger tea lights anymore I think because of that. My husband had to use a fire extinquiser to put it out. And that recked one my end tables completely. Not good!
2 people like this
• United States
18 Nov 07
I think that's just basic common sense though. Of course the metal is going to get hot and could burn the surface underneath. But if the things you buy to go under them aren't working - that is a major probelm that needs to be corrected.
1 person likes this
18 Nov 07
yes it is just common sense really, it is worrying that candle holders don't meet the necessary standards and there aren't better warnings.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Nov 07
I swear it seems things today just lack the quality they did in years past - you know?
1 person likes this
26 Nov 07
yes now it's all about making things as cheaply as possible, rather than the quality of the items.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Nov 07
Oh dang!! that crazy i actually never though to put them in somthing else.. i dont burn them but still i have never though about the tin not being okay to use.. im glad i dont burn them now.lol
26 Nov 07
Yes it's not obvious is it? They do need to make people more aware of this matter.
• United States
10 Nov 07
That must have been a nasty surprise for those people...I like tea lights, but I never let any candle burn unattended. Open flames of any kind are dangerous and I have cats and they are classically curious to the point where they can be a danger to themselves. I just don't trust open flames anywhere without a close eye on it...even campfires. I have a candle holder of lead crystal that is supported on a stand that keeps it off any surfaces directly, and it works well cause I can touch the bottom to see if it is too hot.
1 person likes this
10 Nov 07
yes one of my cats tails nearly went up in flames once because she got too close to a candle. Luckily I was able to grab it in time to stop it, you have to be very careful with candles and cats.
1 person likes this
@drannhh (14676)
• United States
12 Nov 07
The only place I burn candles is in my fireplace. We do not use the fireplace for any other purpose. It is good that you mention the danger of burning candles because so many people relax by candle light and fall asleep and then the house catches fire, often with small children put in harm's way. One can never give too many warnings about this. Your picture is a graphic example of what can so easily happen. Good of you to mention it.
1 person likes this
@shakeroo (3991)
• Malaysia
12 Nov 07
Thanks you for sharing about the danger of the tea candles. I am one of those who believe that the aluminum casing provides sufficient protection form the candle. I would be more careful with that from now on.
• Philippines
9 Nov 07
Well, just dont light the candle so it cant burn anything.
1 person likes this