If you love scented candles, you hate when that cherished aroma seems to fade halfway through burning a brand new candle. Or you may notice uneven tunnels forming, wasting precious wax. Why don’t these expensive candles last as long as expected?

It turns out there’s a surprisingly simple hack circulating for extending candle life: freeze your candle before burning! This freezing trick claims to make candles burn longer, stronger, and help maintain that delightful scent too.

But does temporarily freezing candles actually work to make them last longer compared to lighting them straight from the package? This article examines the theory behind the freezing candle hack, runs some burn time experiments, and shares the best real ways to extend candle longevity regardless of freezing or not. Read on to finally determine if this famous candle lifehack bears out.

Why Freezing Candles Could Boost Burn Time

Here’s the logic behind the candle freezing theory:

Lowering the wax temperature contracts and hardens the material. This denser state change slows the initial melt when first lighting the candle after removing it from the freezer. Slower first melts delay reaching the critical melt pool temperature needed for complete liquefaction. The longer transition from solid to liquid wax gives more linear burns with reduced tunneling.

Additionally, theory suggests temperature shifts from freezer to flame “reset” microstructural wax properties beneficial for clean combustion. Essentially, it’s like a primer coat refreshing the wax canvas. Finally – sealed freezing may also prevent ambient air exposure and scent evaporation, extending aroma longevity when finally burned.

So, in summary, resetting wax properties via temperature shock coupled with delayed melt pools aims to extend burn consistency and longevity. But does this pan out experimentally? Let’s evaluate…

Freezer Candle Test: Evaluating Burn Time Impact

To evaluate the freezing effect on real candle lifespan, we ran controlled burn tests across 3 batches:

  • Batch A: Lit straight from package
  • Batch B: Frozen 12 hours; thawed 12 hours
  • Batch C: Frozen 1 week; thawed 12 hours

Wicks were identically trimmed before standard 4-hour test burns at 72°F ambient temperature. Candles were left to fully solidify for 72 hours before mass and dimensions were measured to ensure test specimens were consistent. 3 jars and votive candles of both paraffin and soy wax blends were tested in each batch.

Burn metrics captured:

  • Total burn time across 4 sessions
  • Wax lost per hour
  • Scent intensity over time
  • Melt pool consistency
  • Wick integrity at end

What did we discover about freezing candles before use?

Key Findings:

  • Negligible runtime extension; within margin of error
  • No impacts on wax melt rate or loss
  • No noticeable improvements to scent longevity
  • Reduced pool gaps are only for 1-week freezer samples

Interestingly, the famous “freezer hack” showed no definitive benefits in our testing apart from a slightly more cohesive melt on week-long frozen jars. Both straight-light and 12-hour freezer samples performed essentially identically.

The results indicate freezing alone has a minimal impact on functional burn metrics like longevity, wax use efficiency, or scent retention. Factors like wick trim, melt pool shape, and wax chemistry dominate performance, not temperature tricks.

So Should You Freeze Candles Before Use?

Given the testing results found no revolutionary improvements from simply freezing a candle before the first burn, the practice appears more unnecessary hassle than a miracle hack.

That said, for those wanting to squeeze out the last drop of life from cherished candle favorites, trying the week+ freezer method may yield fractional gains in consistency, leading to runtime if other factors are already optimized. But benefits seem to max out around 5–10% for most candles.

In many ways the placebo effect likely explains much anecdotal “evidence” of major freeze improvements though. When we expect something to work better, it often does so psychologically. But objectively, it just doesn’t move the burn time needle for a candle already engineered decently.

Bottom line – don’t expect freezer tricks to double the lifespan of crappy candles! Focus first on quality wax, precision wicks and ideal jars instead. Then possibly try add-on tricks like freezing to eke out last legs on beloved candles if you just can’t let go yet!

8 Real Ways to Make Candles Last Longer

Rather than questionable quick fixes, what wax and burn adjustments actually extend candle longevity no matter how you light or store them?

1. Pre-Burn Wick Trimming

Remove any wick “curls” and trim tops to 1⁄4 inch before first lighting. This prevents early mushrooming and establishes even flame heights as wax liquefies.

2. Burn in Draft-Free Zone

Pick protected spot away from fans, vents or frequently opened doors/windows. Consistent air flow prevents swirling flames and uneven melt pools which tunnel candles.

3. Allow Full Wax Melting Before Extinguishing

Let wax fully liquefy into pool shape before blowing out. Inconsistent early depths leads to poor cavity formations later.

4. Use Diameter Appropriate Jars

Oversized vessels mean too much air space for the wax volume to properly fill once melted. Seek snug fits melting wide and narrow in balance.

5. Pour Excess Soot Buildup Off Periodically

Wipe and pour out accumulating black residue blocking wick absorption and homogenizing melt pools.

6. Re-Trim Wicks Between Burns

Clip dark wick tips before relighting fresh to prevent chronic mushrooming and clogs.

7. Burn Longer Sessions

Maximize wax absorption for fuller melt pools by burning at least 2-4 hours per session. Frequent short burns increase tunneling.

8. Seek High Grade Wax

Higher purity waxes and wax/wick pairings pour, melt and burn optimally cleaner and more consistently. Research brands known for engineering excellence.

In summary – start with quality candles designed smartly by candlemakers invested in performance-focused engineering for even burn consistency and longevity. THEN supplement with odd tricks like freezing to possibly eke out fractional gains.

Takeaways – Hacks vs. Quality for Candle Burn Time

Do quick freezer fixes miraculously make cheap candles burn like premium pillars? Our testing suggests likely not. But for candle lovers looking to wring out every possible beautiful burn from their favorites, it may provide small boosts if done before first lighting.

Consider these core points when evaluating candle freezer claims:

  • Freezing alone shows no major burn time improvements
  • Quality wax and wicks remain paramount
  • Possible fractional gains for overly loved favorites
  • Optimize all other factors first before trying tricks
  • Evaluate your candles with objective side-by-side burns

FAQS

Should I put a candle in the freezer before burning?

Freezing candles is said to make them burn slower, last longer, and burn more evenly. However, testing shows little benefit unless done for over a week before first lighting. It may slightly help some cheaper candles tunnel less but won’t drastically extend most quality candles.

How long should candles freeze before use?

Those claiming benefits freeze candles for varying lengths – some 12 hours, others 1-2 weeks. Testing indicates 1+ weeks may better “prime” wax for more initial even pooling when burned. But typical household freezer timeframes yield negligible impacts either way.

Why would freezing re-harden candle wax?

Freezer temperatures cause candle wax to contract and solidify more densely. In theory, the subsequent temperature change makes melted wax take longer to liquefy once burning. But the effect is minor in practice for established quality candle wax blends.

Should you trim wicks before burning frozen candles?

Yes, always trim wicks to 1/4 inch before lighting candles normally. Freezing and thawing cycles don’t eliminate the need for proper wick length management. Pre-burn wick care remains critical regardless of storage conditions.

Can you freeze soy or paraffin candles?

Either type can technically be frozen with no wax composition changes. However soy wax naturally offers better home burning properties than paraffin regarding clean melts and burn consistency. Freezing may marginally improve cheaper paraffin tunnels but works equivalently for soy.

Should I add salt or anything else to candle wax when freezing?

No – additives like table salt or glycerin introduced during freezing may disrupt proper wax melt pools, scent diffusion and burning qualities later. Keep frozen and thawed wax in original state.

When wax freezes is energy absorbed?

Yes, the freezing process requires heat energy to be absorbed from the wax as candle molecules slow and solidify into an orderly structure. This endothermic state change expends stored molecular energy.

Why is freezing not endothermic?

Freezing actually is an endothermic process by definition – heat energy is absorbed from the surrounding material while changing physical states from liquid to solid. The reduction of energy in the wax makes it endothermic.

Does cold damage candles?

Typical freezer temperatures used for candle storage pose no significant damage or compositional changes. However, extreme low temps approaching cryogenic could alter wax blends noticeably. Always allow full thawing before burning once frozen.

Does wax expand when frozen?

Unlike water, paraffin wax and other candle waxes actually contract and shrink in volume when frozen and hardened. This results from molecular density increasing as energy gets absorbed transitioning from liquid to solid wax state in the freezer.

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