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Oil Lamp Wicks Burning Out


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#1 Brad D.

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Posted 24 February 2015 - 12:27 PM

So, I have purchased a couple gold wick holders that sit on top of the vessel of oil, and I know for sure the wicking I bought goes with that particular wick holder....  But, the flame keeps burning down basically into the gold tube where the wick is, and then the flame either goes out or is so small it is not really worth using.  Am I doing something wrong?  Seems pretty simple!  But I have tried trimming it...and I have pulled the wick futher out once lit (and before lighting) but it just burns down again to the tube and goes out...

 

Brad



#2 Gregory Korbut

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Posted 24 February 2015 - 04:56 PM

Brad,

 

Are you referring to the braided metal wick holders that sit on the rim of the lampada?  If I recall, those have a finite time to burn, usually 3-6 hours.  A combination of the wick getting too small, coated with carbon, and the ability to get oil up to the flame essentiall cause them to go out in that timeframe.  After this point, cleaning, re-adjusting the wick (I recall 1/8 - 1/4" being ok - 3-5mm), and topping the lamp off with oil will be required.

 

This is different I believe than the Greek float style (wick in the center of a cork ring??).  I have never used these, but I believe they travel down with the oil, and may burn longer.  Drawbacks to this obviously would be the potential for a lampada burning all the way down (cracked glass possible?).

 

I'm sure there are others with better experience and information.

 

 

Gregory



#3 John S.

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Posted 24 February 2015 - 07:06 PM

"This is different I believe than the Greek float style (wick in the
center of a cork ring??).  I have never used these, but I believe they
travel down with the oil, and may burn longer.  Drawbacks to this
obviously would be the potential for a lampada burning all the way down
(cracked glass possible?)."

 

I use the floating wick and yes, it travels down with the oil and lasts a long time. Regarding the drawback of when it gets to the bottom: Before you put in the oil, put in an inch of water or so. The oil will float to the top, and if the lamp burns all the way down, it will just go out!


Edited by John S., 24 February 2015 - 07:07 PM.


#4 Olga

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Posted 24 February 2015 - 09:18 PM

So, I have purchased a couple gold wick holders that sit on top of the vessel of oil, and I know for sure the wicking I bought goes with that particular wick holder....  But, the flame keeps burning down basically into the gold tube where the wick is, and then the flame either goes out or is so small it is not really worth using.  Am I doing something wrong?  Seems pretty simple!  But I have tried trimming it...and I have pulled the wick futher out once lit (and before lighting) but it just burns down again to the tube and goes out...

 

Brad

 

What sort of oil are you using, Brad? The problem you describe is either because the wick is too dense to draw enough oil to burn properly (so the wick burns faster than the oil), or the oil you use is too "thick".



#5 Seraphim of the Midwest

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 04:32 AM

You can try fiberglass wicking.  I use it and it burns until all the oil is consumed.  It may do what you are wanting better.



#6 Father David Moser

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 06:52 PM

A number of things can cause this issue:

Wicking material - if the weave is too tight, it won't draw the oil up

dimensions of the wick - needs to move freely in the holder and needs to be long enough to reach the oil and have plenty left to burn.

the oil you use. Most food grade olive oil is generally not good for oil lamps! its too heavy. I usually look for a light olive oil. The cathedral clergy in SF all are big fans of Canola or Safflower oil for burning in lamps as it is lighter than olive oil. My Archbishop pointed out that you really can't get the lamp grade olive oil easily in this county which is thinner and often on the rancid side. In my altar, most of the "oil" lamps are actually burning liquid paraffin (also known as "lamp oil"). This burns excellently with the fiberglass wicks.

Seraphim - you mentioned using fiberglass wicks. Do you know where I can get some? I need to replace some that have just completely come unstrung.

Fr David

#7 Seraphim of the Midwest

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 08:19 PM

Fiberglass Wicks vs. Cotton Wicks

 
I have no interest in any of the businesses that I link to, I just use them to show what is available:

My experience: I burn "light olive oil" (not virgin or extra virgin), so I still get black gunk build up, it easily scrapes off and I trim it maybe once every 5-10 uses, depending on how low the oil got.  If the oil gets really low, the glass can fuse or get really hard and lose wicking properties.  Also, when you handle it, use rubber gloves or a paper towel unless you have "working' man's hands" as it is fiberglass, and can lead to itchy hands.



#8 Brad D.

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 08:31 PM

Thank you all very much!  I highly suspect after reading your comments that the oil I am using may be no good.  I bought standard "pure olive oil" from the grocery store, the generic kind.  I will try some different oil!  I also did buy some floating wicks which will arrive tomorrow.  I will try them before tossing out the oil I did buy.  The kind of wicks I have are the thin string kind, and the toppers are the gold kind with a thin gold tube the wick feeds through.  I have emailed the seller and they have instructed me on what to do, but nothing they have said to do changed anything.  I bet it is the oil!

 

Thanks so much!

Brad






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