Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

How Can Candles Affect Your IAQ?

How Can Candles Affect Your IAQ?Part of the popularity of burning candles is to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) but in reality, they could be doing the opposite. Unfortunately, some candles actually contribute to indoor air pollution and degrade IAQ. The perceived improvements in IAQ are largely because of the scents that burning candles release, which ironically, makes indoor air quality even worse.

How Do Candles Pollute?

Candles made from paraffin originate from petroleum oil, which contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are known carcinogens and have other harmful effects on mammals. When they’re burned, candles emit the VOCs along with harmful particulates like soot.

VOCs are one of the most challenging pollutants to get rid of in homes. The best way to escape their effects is to avoid them altogether. If you can’t, choose plants that absorb VOCs or install UV lights in the HVAC system to alter the VOCs, rendering them less harmful.

Candles and Your HVAC System

The “V” in HVAC stands for ventilation and when your air conditioner runs, it circulates air throughout your home. If you’re burning candles in the living room, the VOCs and soot will travel throughout the ductwork before it ends up in the rooms. As it passes through the air filter, the soot particles collect on it. If you’re burning more candles than normal, check the air filter more often.

A clogged filter drives up cooling costs because it slows airflow through the filter and the entire system. Left in the air handler too long, a dirty filter can cause mechanical problems, from higher electric bills to a burned out compressor, your air conditioner’s most expensive part.

Alternatives to Wax Candles

You can enjoy burning candles at home by switching to those made from beeswax or soybean oil. Neither emits VOCs or soot, which will keep the air cleaner. If you want to avoid the heat that candles put out in the summer, use LED candles.

Managing indoor air quality in Yuma can be a challenge in the summertime. For more information, contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company, providing HVAC services for Yuma-area homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 928-723-3183.