How to avoid candle tunnelling?
Candle companies go to great lengths to test for different candle problems that customers can encounter. Candle tunnelling is one such issue, which can happen to any type of candle, no matter how much they have cost you. So what is tunnelling and how can you prevent candle tunnelling? Tunnelling is where you get a thick wide layer of wax around the edge of the vessel and the centre is the only part that burns. Its pretty ugly and annoying but its not all down to the candle, but how you take care of your candle. The problem with candle tunnelling is that it also means that your candle will not last as long, plus is a waste of money and scent.
There are a few main reasons why candle tunnelling happens. The reasons are, the type of wax, the environment the candle has been lit within, and how long you have let the candle burn the first time you light it.
Environment plays a big part in candle tunnelling. Some people do not realise they have too cold a room before they light their candle. Other people live in colder homes and then there is the added issue of draughts, which can affect the way the candle wick operates. Draughts in a room can also be an issue, because it can cause the wick to heat one side of the glass, thus leaving wax on the other side.
There are ways to help with this if you live in an older style home. One way is to get a candle hurricane or bell jar. Some of the high end candle companies have had some custom made for their candles. Not only does this mean that the cold and draught is kept away from the candle, but they look very pretty too. Because glass hurricanes have an open top, you still get the scent in the room. They are also useful if you have pillar candles that are not in containers. So if tunnelling is an issue for the different candles you buy, you may want to invest in a hurricane or lantern to help. The other helpful hint is to buy candles in tin containers. The tin heats up well, so you get less residue or no residue of wax.
This is the Daventry hurricane priced at £39.39 today from www.wayfair.co.uk who have some fantastic hurricanes at different price points.
A main point is often one which gets overlooked by people. Many are not aware of how to burn a candle properly. This means that you ensure that the very first burn of your candle, is for the prescribed length of time specified on the label. Lakes and Hills provide a safety label underneath, but there is a further label at the back, which is a guide as to how long to leave your candle burn time. For our glass 200g candles, your first burn should be for around 3-4 hours. So if you are thinking of going out, say after only lighting your candle for just an hour, then I would not bother. If you measure your candle diameter, your candle should be lit for one hour per every inch.
Candle wax weirdly has memory and it will only light to that point again next time. Make sure that the first time you light the candle that you do not trim the wick. If the wick is too small on a first burn, it won't have the energy to get that first full top layer of melted wax. You need to ensure you have a full 1/4" liquid wax melt pool over the top layer of the vessel, before you extinguish it. It also helps if every time you light the candle, you make sure it has a full top layer of liquid candle wax. Do make sure you trim your wick correctly after the first light, ensuring you do not cut it too short though.
If you don't like your candles being on for longer periods of time, the best thing to do is to buy smaller versions, which will take less time to get to a proper wax melt pool. Avoiding frequent short bursts of lighting your candle will definitely help.
If you do have a candle that has suffered tunnelling, then there is a further option that may be useful, so that you don't waste any of the wax. You can get from many places tea light wax melt burners and electric wax burners. Just scoop some of the residue wax from your candle pot, and pop it on top of the burner to melt. This is good way of using up the wax left at the bottom. Make sure you do not overfill a wax melt burner. A heaped teaspoon is usually quite suffice.
There are other ways of dealing with candle tunnelling. Some high profile candle companies have developed a weird metal style lid that you use on top. The other alternative which I have seen on youtube, is to wrap the candle with aluminium tin foil and then leave an opening at the top. The aluminium foil is said to heat the glass and loosen the stubborn wax on the side. Please take care when doing this. Whatever you do, do not touch the candle and burn yourself and make sure you do this somewhere really safe! Another alternative is to scoop the cold wax off the side of the vessel and again use it on a wax melt burner.
One last point to consider is the wick itself. There are cheap imported candles, which have precious little testing and care. To these manufacturers its all about the money and not about the product. The wick of a candle is so important. An inferior or incorrectly sized wick can also create problems such as bad sooting and candle tunnelling.
At Lakes and Hills we use soy wax which helps. So why is soy wax good for people who experience candle tunnelling? It is mainly because soy wax has a lower melting point than many paraffin waxes.