holiday themed reed diffuser

Decorate for the holidays without candles

If you’re feeling like decking the halls, you’re probably not alone. It’s that time of year when the holiday spirit abounds, and nothing feels as festive as decorations. Garland and wreaths, ornaments and bows and lights and candles. Candles – they can be beautiful and meaningful, and they emit the perfect warm glow for a holiday meal or snuggling with a good book. But they also pose dangers.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, from 2014 to 2018 US fire departments responded to over 7,500 home fires per year that were started by candles. Death, injury and $278 million in property damage ensued.1 Home fires resulting from candles occur in December more than any other time of year.

While death and injury cannot be restored, when you have insurance your property is protected. A standard homeowners or renters policy will cover accidental loss resulting from fires started by candles. No matter what, it’s always a good idea to review your plan and know what coverages and protections you have in place. Here’s a breakdown of basic coverages for both renters and homeowners and some ideas on how to celebrate the season without candles.

Homeowners fire protection coverage

Whether the fire was electrical or the result of an unattended candle, typically a homeowners policy provides dwelling coverage, personal property coverage, loss of use coverage and personal liability coverage. Dwelling coverage helps pay to cover the costs to repair your home. Personal property coverage will help pay for personal items that may have been damaged. Los of use coverage compensates you for living expenses should you need to temporarily relocate during repairs.

Sometimes home fires affect property other than your own. If fire spreads and damages neighboring homes or property, personal liability coverage can help with settling these damages. It can provide bodily injury liability, if someone is injured and you are held responsible. It’s a good idea to check the limits on your personal liability coverage, fire damage can be extensive, and you may want to add personal umbrella insurance for additional protection.

Renters fire protection coverage

Renters insurance also covers damages that result from accidental fires. Like homeowners, personal property coverage helps pay for your items, liability covers property or injury caused to a third party resulting from fire and loss of use helps with expenses for temporary housing if your apartment is uninhabitable. Unlike homeowners insurance, renters insurance does not cover structural damages resulting from fire, your landlord’s insurance is responsible for the dwelling.

Additional dangers of candles

Candles not only pose fire dangers, but they also affect air quality. According to IQ Air, the world’s largest free real-time air quality information platform in the fight against air pollution, the hidden dangers of scented candles come from the wax, the wick and the fragrance releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.2 From the petroleum-based waxes, chemically infused fragrances and metal-laden wicks burning candles is not only a fire risk but also greatly compromises indoor air quality.

Candle alternatives

Whether you’re looking to replace the warm glow or the delightful scent, there are a few good alternatives to using candles.

Essential oil diffuser

Essential oil diffusers are becoming more popular. These small devices create ultrasonic waves that disperse essential oils into the air through tiny droplets of water. With hundreds of plant-derived essential oils, you can have your room smelling like cinnamon or pine without the candle. However, use caution with essential oils. Know the risks and benefits and consult a licensed aromatherapist before getting started.

Reed diffuser

Another way of dispensing scent into the air without candles is a reed diffuser. Reed diffusers are usually assembled with narrow-neck bottles and long sticks that are inserted into a scented liquid. The reeds absorb the scent from the liquid and release it into the air. Scents for reed diffusers can be fragrance-based (usually with a chemical makeup) or come from essential oils.

Wax warmers

Some wax warmers use tea light candles, but electric wax warmers heat tiny, scented wax forms that release aroma when warmed. Like wax and scents from candles, wax melts can have toxic components. Some companies make melts with beeswax and essential oil alternatives. Unlike candles made with these more natural components, wax melts can be less expensive than natural candles.

Potpourri pot

Also known as a simmer pot, potpourri pots are electric devices that heat water infused with potpourri – mixtures of dried plant materials. Potpourri packets can be purchased, or you can create your own. A nice holiday mixture can come from cinnamon sticks, orange peels and whole clove or allspice.

Flameless candles

Available in different shapes, sizes and colors, flameless candles can enhance a room’s ambiance without the risks associated with open flames. With LED components, these candles can be controlled by switch or remote, have brightness control options, can flicker or provide steady light, be set to a timer and even change color. Flameless menorahs are also available.

Landlord tip

If you’re a property owner renting a home or apartment, consider a thoughtful note to your tenants about not using candles and instead provide them with one of the alternatives. If you’re a landlord regularly welcoming new tenants, this simple gesture can go a long way to building a great tenant-landlord relationship. Perhaps you rent a unit seasonally. Stocking your rental with a flameless candle and potpourri pot will decrease the chances that candles will be brought in and used against any agreement you might have.

With the dangers associated with candles, especially around celebrations, using an alternative could mean a happier holiday. Use one or a combination to create the perfect ambiance.