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Considering my home doesn't have a heating system nor chimneys, I wonder if it's worthwhile to heat using only candles. There are multiple dimensions to consider:

  1. Does it cost less than electric heating? Does it maybe even cost less than oil, gas or even wood?
  2. Compared to common heating sources, how does it stand environmentally?
  3. Are there any health risks like fine dust? Let's leave the fire danger aside here.
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    A lot will depend on: 1) Where you live -- how cold does it get, and for how much of the year will you need to heat your home? 2) What type of candles are you considering? Some are made of petroleum products, others from natural sources (whose production may or may not be sustainable). In addition, shall we assume you've taken steps such as improving insulation, sealing cracks, wearing sweaters, etc? – LShaver Aug 9 '17 at 20:53
  • @LShaver 1) Germany, max. -14 °C, heating period from October to April 2) basically the cheapest from the nearby candle factory, which are tealights (best price per kilogram of wax), undoubtedly they are petroleum based. I'm open for suggestions here, but bee wax is of course (currently?) much more expensive, which needs to be considered. 3) Tight wattle and daub house (basically wood and clay), no insulation, but a low room temperature like 15 °C, 18 °C in bath rooms, is totally fine. – dessert Aug 9 '17 at 21:11
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A related question was asked on SE Skeptics - Is this tealight-flowerpot heater more efficient than just tealights?

In the third answer, it is claimed the heat produced by one tea light candle is 0.75 MJ per candle.

Where I live, one of the domestic gas suppliers sells gas for 2.78 cents per MJ. The energy value of the gas is 38.713 MJ per cubic metre of gas.

To produce the same heat as one cubic metre of gas I would need to burn 51.62 candles (38.713/.75 = 51.62)

The cost of candles can vary from 50 cents to 30 dollars.

At 50 cents per candle the cost of 52 candles is $26.

The cost of one cubic metre of gas from one of my local suppliers is $1.07 (38.713*2.78/100).

Clearly, The cost of using candles for heating is far more expensive than using natural gas.

Additionally, candles produce soot, which pollutes the air in the room & can lead to respiratory health issues.

EDIT: The other negative thing about burning anything in a closed environment, such as a room or a house, is the burning process produces carbon dioxide and it may also produce carbon monoxide, which in high concentrations can be fatal or cause brain damage due to oxygen starvation on cells in the brain. If you need to been anything in doors, ensure a flue or chimney removes the gaseous products of combustion to the atmosphere outside.

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    Thank you – so much for gas, but what about electricity, and the environmental footprint of candles in comparison to electricity/gas/oil? Soot is annoying without question, but is it also unhealthy? – dessert Aug 10 '17 at 6:16
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    @dessert Soot is definitely unhealthy. It is the #1 cause of respiratory problems in countries where people cook indoors on wood fires. – Jan Doggen Aug 10 '17 at 7:58
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    @dessert The difference of gas and electricity it at most a factor 3. You candles still lose. So the only question left open is the ecological effects of production. – Jan Doggen Aug 10 '17 at 7:59
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    It's worth noting that allowing for adequate ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide problems decreases the efficiency of the heating. It's also worth noting that unflued gas heaters cause numerous problems so are best avoided. More details here: health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/environmental-health/… – Highly Irregular Aug 14 '17 at 22:08

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