heat from candles

Heat From Candles – Can it Compare to a Space Heater?

Does the heat from candles compare to a space heater?


It’s an interesting question, and yes provided you have enough candles burning, you can get enough heat off of candles to warm up a room.

According to multiple sources, the magic number of candles that you would have to keep lit is 19.

That’s based on fact that a burning candle creates about 80w of energy and the typical space heater is 1500w

1500 ÷ 80 = 18.75

So yes the possibility of warming a room with the heat from candles is definitely there.

But the more important question is “Should You?”

I’m going with No. Of course there are always extenuating circumstances, emergencies that could come up that may say otherwise.

But as a general method, my opinion is still No.

There are 3 good reasons I would say that.

1.  Much too dangerous
2.  VOCs
3.  Not economical.

1.  Too dangerous

I’m going to insert a personal story here as to why.

As a young person I was a recording artist. When I first began recording I laid down a fortune in recording hours at the “big boy” recording studio in my city.

It only took a few songs to realize I was not good enough to do one or two takes of anything. And with the clock burning through my wallet, I needed to find a better way.

So the logical solution, if I was going to be able to learn this recording stuff, was to use the money I was spending at the Professional Studio on a home studio where I could do as many takes as I needed on any song.

This is where the candle part of the story comes in.

As I got comfortable with recording in my home, I started lighting a candle or two to create some mood in the room.

And the more comfortable I got, I didn’t always make an effort to make sure the candles were blown out.

I thought it didn’t really matter because they were small candles inside of a jar.

But as stupid as it was, there was a specific incident where I left the house to run to the corner convenient store and

I didn’t think it was worth shutting down because I was going for a drink and I would be right back.

But, as I was on the way to the store I realized I didn’t grab my wallet. So I turned around and immediately went back to get it.

As I opened the door I smelled smoke.

I ran into the recording room and found that a pair of headphones had been too close to a burning candle. The cord on the headphones had combusted.

I don’t know what material that headphone cords are made of, but it went up like a dead Christmas tree.

It had caught fire and melted to almost nothing in the time it took me to leave the house and turn around and come back because I forgot my wallet.

  Up till then, I didn’t consider candles to be dangerous. But after that incident I’m pretty wary of using candles.

It scares me now when I see someone, especially one of my teenage children sleeping with a candle burning. Especially when they have been told not too more than once.

I never knew how fast fire could take hold and spread so easily.

It’s as if the flame had jumped off of the candle and landed straight onto the headphones. Honest truth.

So when it comes to keeping 20 or so candles lit to warm a room, that in my opinion is a definite no no.

The ease in which a fire could start is much too risky.

2.  VOCs

Most of the information that you can find on whether or not it is safe to breathe with a candle burning suggests that it is completely safe as long as it is only one or two candles and it is an open area.

  And that the candles are non scented…

This statement kinda blows the idea of keeping a room warm with candles out the window.

Firstly we are not talking about 1 or 2 candles. We are talking about 20.

Secondly, we are trying to keep the room warm which automatically means closing the doors and windows and sealing it in as well as possible.

And granted, if you were going to purchase candles to warm a room, you probably wouldn’t choose apple cinnamon or warm vanilla sugar.

But I think it goes without saying that the scent of a candle is the main appeal besides putting off light.

And the candles most of us have around the house are strongly scented.

That’s the point

It’s the fragrance that they put into candles that creates soot and the black smoky flame. Imagine multiplying the amount of soot by 20.

  The chemicals released from the fragrance fall under the category of Volatile Organic compounds ( VOCs) .

Air purifiers are designed for getting rid of VOCs. Because they are dangerous to breathe.

I haven’t tried it, but you know it would be hard and near impossible to breathe with 20 sooty scented candles burning.

3.  Not economical

Candles are not cheap.

Votive candles are approximately $2.50 a pop. Times 20 is 50 bucks for about 5 to 7 hours of burn time.

Even if they burned 8 hours you’re still looking at $150 for 24 hours.

You can buy an excellent space heater for $150. You can buy three small space heaters for that.

And I know that they have emergency candles that last 100 hours. But they are definitely not $2.50. More like $10.

Times that amount by 20. You’re still looking at $200 for $100 of heat.

So heating a room with candles is definitely not a cheap way to get heat.

Emergency or Survival Candles

I understand that in an emergency there may be a need to use candles to warm up your room.

But unless you have a stockpile of candles already,

  I think the better money would be on purchasing a propane space heater for emergency situations.

Summing up

Whether or not candles can heat a room is an interesting question.

And the answer is yes. If you have enough candles burning, you can heat up a room with candles.

The number of candles that it takes to roughly match the heat of a 1500 watt heater is about 19 to 20 candles.

That’s based on a candle being able to create about 80 watts of heat.

But even though it can be done, is it something that really should be done?

Most people will say, “what about an emergency?”

That makes sense. What if the power is out and you do not have any heat, and it’s cold outside.

So yes, I can see how if provided, you have 20 candles sitting around already, that lighting them all would be a way of getting some heat in your room in that kind of situation.

But if you don’t have 20 candles ( more like 60 in a 24-hour period) then buying candles for emergency preparedness is not going to be the best ideal for warming your house or room. And not the best ideal for preparing for an emergency or survival situation.

The amount of money that it would take to purchase enough candles to keep a room warm for 24 hours is enough to buy a more than adequate propane heater that can be lit without electricity.

And be a much safer option than having that many candles lit.

Published by

Dennis Reed

Dennis Reed Owner and Author @ BreatheBetterAir.org