Do Glass Candles Burn Themselves Out?

Candles are sources of secondary lights in our homes. Get a little creative and they set the mood right for romantic candlelit dinners. But when left unmonitored, candles can prove to be disastrous. As per research, candles cause 3% of reported home fires, 3% of home fire deaths, 5% of direct property damage, and 6% of home fire injuries. Saying this, do glass candles burn themselves out?

In general glass candles, those within a container such as tealights and glass jars, and with metal wicks will easily burn themselves out. However, other candles, especially the free-standing ones would most likely not burn themselves out.

It’s important not to leave a burning candle unattended. But things happen and sometimes, that is normally the case. Here are important things to know about burning candles.

What Happens When a Candle Burns Out on Its Own?

A candle requires a variety of different components to burn, from the wick and wax to the flame or fire that ignites it. For the candle to keep burning, it needs a wick to keep the flame alive. After burning and when the flame gets to the bottom of the candle wax or container, it will continue to burn as long as there is a fuel source. This is normally the wick, wax, or any other flammable material.

Candle wax or paraffin is composed of connections between carbon and hydrogen atoms. The wax molecules react with oxygen in the air to form heat. Wax burned turns to liquid. The flame will continue to burn as long as the wax doesn’t melt away from the flame.

A candle only stops burning when there is no more wax (fuel) or when the heat to melt the wax is not enough. A candle flame produces both heat and light energy, with heat being one-quarter. This heat maintains the reaction, vaporizes the wax for it to burn, and melts it to maintain fuel supply.

How Long Does a Glass Candle Take to Burn Out?

Generally, small votive candles take around 7 to 9 hours to burn. Larger votive candles burn at a much faster rate, averaging between 5 and 7 hours.

Pillars and Tapers10 INCHES9 HRS
Votives2 ½ INCHES10-15 HRS
Jar CandlesFitting 3.7 Ounces of Wax25-40 HRS

Even so, the time taken for candles to burn out completely depend on a lot of variables; the candle size, type of wax used, length of wick, and type and amount of additives used. Although there are ways to calculate your candle burn time, a trial and error burn test best suits the case.

Perform a burn test. Burn the candle for 4 hours minimum. Determine how much candle has been burned in this time period. Conduct several burn tests until the point where the candle puts itself out. Record all this data down.

For instance, if it takes you 30 burns at 2-hour intervals to burn through all the wax, then the estimated burn time is 60 hours. It is also helpful to burn two candles simultaneously using the same intervals to confirm the consistency of the results.

There are environmental factors that could affect your candle’s burn time. These include the room temperature, amount of oxygen, and movement of air.

What to Do If You Realize You Left a Candle Burning                                                   

As I earlier said, things happen, and at times, we may leave candles burning out without any supervision. In this case scenario, I’ll assume you have left the candle burning at home with no one else present. If you are able, go back to the house ASAP and put out the candle.

If not, call someone (a neighbor, friend, or relative) who may be around your residence and would arrive at a shorter period than you. Hopefully, they would be able to access your house and check on the candle.

In a worst-case scenario, they are unable to access your locked house. The first thing is to peep through the window of the room where the candle is. If they are willing, they can babysit the house for a few hours until you arrive home and put it off.

Another option would be allowing them to break into your house. A locksmith may help with that. Learning from the situation, I would advise you have a spare key somewhere secure but accessible. So that if such a scenario occurs, it can easily be taken care of. The best solution, however, is to always put out your candles before leaving the house.


It is funny how equally important and dangerous candles can be.  With proper knowledge and education, you can put in place safety precautions to prevent accidents, injuries, and damages caused by candle fires.

Remember not to burn a candle all the way down. Extinguish it when it reaches close to the container. Also, ensure all candles are off before leaving the house. Don’t be a statistic.

Photo of author
Derrick Thompson
I have spent many years as a glazier working with glass and mirrors and this medium never ceases to amaze me. I decided to start this website to help share what I have learned and hopefully educate people about these wonderful building materials.