There are three possible reasons for this question to come to your mind, and for you to read this article on ‘how many candles to heat a room’. The short answer is: you need 20 candles to heat one medium sized room. But first, which reasons may you have to read this article?
- There’s a power outage, it’s cold outside, and you don’t have a heater.
- You’re spending a few nights off the grid.
- Your room heater has unexpectedly broken.
Your only heating option in these conditions may be a candle. While you know candles produce heat, you also know that the heat of one candle isn’t enough to heat the entire room.
This makes you think of the next question:
How Hot Do Candles Really Get?
There’s no straightforward answer to this question either. It is because the answer depends on various factors like:
- The room size.
- Room and surrounding temperature.
- Level of room insulation.
- The type of candle wax and wick.
Here’s how these factors impact a candle’s heat.
1. Room size
It is evident that the larger the room, the longer it takes for the candle to heat it. You also need more candles to heat larger rooms when compared to smaller spaces.
2. Room Insulation
You also need to know the rate of heat transfer in the room through the candles. This depends on the speed of heat escape outside the room through the room walls, doors, windows, and floor.
Or in other words, you need to know how the room insulation works, and if it’s possible to seal any openings or not. It’s important because you will lose a considerable amount of heat if you cannot close the openings.
3. Room And Surrounding Temperature
The room and surrounding heat also affect the candle’s heating capacity. For example, poorly insulated shacks tend to lose their heat very quickly in cold surrounding temperatures.
This leaves the shack cold, wherein you need more candles to heat the shed.
However, rooms in a building with adjacent rooms with the same temperature don’t lose heat quickly. The effects of the external temperature are minimal, leading to minimal heat loss in the rooms. So you don’t need that many candles to heat the room.
4. Candle Type And Material
About the candle’s rate of heat transfer, it depends on the candle’s heat and flame. This, in turn, depends on the candle wax and wick, where different types burn at different temperatures and rates.
100% poured beeswax candles are hard and take the longest to burn. However, they tend to burn slowly, and thus last longer.
Soy wax candles made from hydrogenated soybean oil burn as long as beeswax candles, but are cheaper. Besides, they have a lower melting point and are easier to work with.
Paraffin candles have been around for a long time but offer the shortest burn time.
About wick types, candles may come with different wick types. Of the lot, wood wicks last the longest compared to hemp, ECO, and flat LX candle wicks. Besides, double and triple-wick candles burn the longest because the wax melts evenly.
How Many Candles to Heat A Room?
You now know about the factors affecting a candle’s heating power. And you also know about the effects of the candle wax and wick in the candle burning.
Based on a few calculations and factors, you need 20 candles to heat a room.
It’s proven that one candle emits 80W of heating power, so you need 20 candles to heat one 1,600W space heater. But the problem is that it’s not practical or safe to have 20 candles burning in your room.
So this brings you to the next question.
Does Heating With Candles Make Sense?
No, heating a room with candles does not make any sense. This is because one candle doesn’t emit that much heating power to heat a room.
And burning twenty candles to produce the heat of one single space heater is a fire hazard.
Besides, the heating time is limited and depends on the candle size. While small tea candles may burn for 3-4 hours, the standard-sized candles burn only for 7-9 hours. You end up having to replace the candles after a few hours.
At this rate, you end up needing 120 tea candles to heat a single room for 24 hours.
So just imagine, you will need about 360 candles to heat three rooms! Calculate to find out how much this will cost you. And then there’s the additional stress of constantly lighting and replacing the candles.
There’s also the high possibility of candles blowing out by the wind. So you will have to keep lighting them.
There are a few other drawbacks you need to know about burning candles.
1. Burning Heat
Suppose you manage to insulate your room well by sealing all openings, to lead to zero heat loss. Burning candles like this with you in the room can get dangerous.
You end up with an oxygen deficit problem where you have minimal time before you, and the candle flame ends up suffocating.
Of course, it doesn’t occur immediately. It takes time, but any unventilated area is a bad idea.
2. Soot Build-Up
If you opt to burn candles for heating purposes regularly, you may end up with soot all over your room. So be ready for soot-covered curtains, carpets, and walls that are not only ugly but need a lot of paint in the end to repair.
3. Risk of Fire
Burning so many candles in a room for heating purposes can get dangerous. There is always the risk of a few, if not all, candles toppling over. Or there is the risk of nearby curtains and flammable items like newspapers and books catching fire. In short, it proves to be a fire hazard, especially in homes with pets and kids around.
Comparing Burning Candles With Space Heaters
After looking at all these dangers and complications related to burning candles, you may wonder which is better. Is it better to use candles or for example, a space heater for heating purposes?
Of course, it’s way better to use a regular space heater because:
- It’s a more effective heating option where you don’t have to keep changing the cylinder.
- If you compare costs, it’s cheaper buying and using heaters than buying and burning candles.
- Besides, all you have to switch on is the heater, and it keeps your room warm for as long as there is fuel or electricity. There is no need to repeatedly switch the heater on and off like you need to replace candles every few hours.
- Space heaters are also safe, as long as you use them as per their manual instructions. Using heaters for the wrong reasons, like drying clothes on them, only leads to the heater overheating and it catching fire.
- You can always depend on your space heater to provide heat, even during power outages. Some do not require electricity and are perfect for carrying along with you when you go off-grid.
Related article: 6 Types Of Space Heaters
So you need 20 candles to heat a room but it is always better to invest in an indoor space heater. While candles do warm the room, they are dangerous, expensive in the long run, and accumulate soot.
You may have to make a more significant initial investment for a space heater. However, they turn out to be cheaper than candles in the long run. They are especially cheaper to use in places with frequent power cuts or when you go off-grid.
Related article: Does A Light Bulb Make A Room Hotter?