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I've had 2 different presto pots that have caught fire while pouring my wax into my pour pot..

My first thought was that it's getting to hot but I always keep an eye on what the temp is and I've been making candles this way for years and within 3 weeks I've had 2 of them catch fire... This has never happened to me before.

Wandering if anybody else has had a problem like this with their presto pot??

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I have a presto and it is just a workhorse. I keep it clean and wipe it out daily. I check the connection where the plug inserts and make sure there is no uncleaned wax spill over the side.

I have to echo the above, I think we would all like to know where the fire started and how. Was it a wax in the wrong place fire or did the coil blow out? etc,etc.

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Temp gets to 190, it happens as soon as I pour the last of the wax out, it starts from the bottom of the pot..

It has only happened with the newer ones that I have purchased. The older ones have never done this. I've been making candles for several years and have never had this happen till now.

I too keep mine clean and the area around it. I want them to last..

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I had enough time to open the screen and throw it out in the rain..

NEVER do that with a pot of wax or oil that's on fire!

You are one lucky person!! Simply put the cover on to smother the fire and leave the cover on until the pot cools off.

Obviously, the surface of the bottom is heating to temperatures in excess of 600°F. Apparently the fumes and residue from the wax & FO are igniting. If your FO is settling to the bottom and you are not stirring long enough to fully incorporate it into the wax, it may be accumulating at the bottom while you pour.

I have never had a Presto catch fire, but here are some tips to remember when using any melter with an electric heat element on the bottom:

  • There is no reason to set the thermostat more than 200°F when melting veggie waxes and not much higher with paraffin. It does not heat any faster and actually can cause problems with overheating the wax and the pot. I set mine on the "2" of "200" on the dial when MELTING. I turn it to the warm setting as soon as the wax reaches 185°F (the highest temp to which I heat soy wax) or 200°F (the highest point to which I heat palm wax).
  • The bottom over the element is the hottest place in the pot. The element is either on or off. The thermostat clicks off when the contents have reached the desired temp, but the heating element is far hotter than the temp set on the thermostat. This is why it is very important to stir frequently while melting and pouring.
  • Turn the thermostat off well in advance of pouring the last of the wax out because, with less liquid in the pot, the surface of the pot will heat up quickly. The residual heat of the wax and the pot will keep the wax at the right temp for some time with no further heating.

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It sounds to me like candles4ever is not turning off the thermostat or disconnecting the presto pot before pouring. I have had the thin layer leftover from pouring or the small amounts from a previous session start to smoke on the inside of the pot. Because of this, I take care to cover the bottom of the pot when reheating with plenty of wax when starting a new batch; clean it between sessions if I have no leftover wax or will be using a different wax; and I turn off the thermostat, unplug, and disconnect the power adapter before pouring wax. My presto pot is only two months old (bought new) and I believe the issue is related to "operator error."

Edited by evergreen
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It has only happened with the newer ones that I have purchased. The older ones have never done this. I've been making candles for several years and have never had this happen till now.

I know the older ones melted about 8 pounds of wax. It appears that the newer ones will only do about 6 pounds. Doesn't seem like any of us using the older ones have had problems. It always seems that when a company makes a change in a product it's not always for the better.

Thanks for the words of warning about the new ones.

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Thanks for the warning. I just bought my Presto about 2 weeks ago and it's been going since the first day I bought it. I put it on warm, sometimes 200 just to get it hot, then I turn it back to warm. The warm setting will heat to about 145 degrees. Once my wax is melted I turn it up a little to get it to about 175 degrees, then I turn it back down after I ladle out the amount of wax I need. I don't add FO or color to the wax until it's in my pour container.

I haven't had any problems with it. It works like a charm! But I will definitely keep an eye on it. :)

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As a thought, it may be safer and easier to use if you add a s picket to the pot so you no longer have to pour out of the presto itself. I have two prestos both with spickets... it only adds about $7 in a valve and fitting. anyone you know that has exp. using a drill and the thread tap and put one on your pots in about 30mins.

just my two cents...

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I'm with the Never Do That Again post....I've had 3 fires (prior to using my presto pots...for 2 of the fires I just put a lid on the burning pot, put outside and let the snow cool the pot down...for 1 fire, I did what you did, except I uncovered the pot and threw it out into the snow. I was a scene out of backdraft...burned down a bush next to my back steps and the railing on my stairs...you could have a faulty thermostat and the best way to check that is to set you temp and use a thermometer to make sure your pot isn't getting hotter than the thermostat.

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just a warning, hope this never happens to you

I'm sorry it happened to YOU! I'm so glad you posted this 'cause if one person has an issue like this, whether operator error or defect, it can happen to others and I don't want a fire to happen to anyone!

I have had the thin layer leftover from pouring or the small amounts from a previous session start to smoke on the inside of the pot.

I've seen mine smoke, too, when all the wax was poured out... I simply put the lid on. If I hadn't, perhaps it would have erupted into flames, but there just wouldn't have been enough wax to make much of a fire... only a few droplets... :confused:

Temp gets to 190, it happens as soon as I pour the last of the wax out

190°F isn't high enough for the wax to flash... I think the flash point for soy wax is around 600°F... I have read it is less for paraffin, but even so, there's no way it'd flash at 190°F - it's gotta be getting hotter than that...

Before I pour out the wax, everything gets unplugged.

It seems that it should be turned off sooner than you have been unplugging, otherwise there wouldn't be enough residual heat to cause overheating when the liquid is all poured out. As I mentioned before, I usually have mine turned off way before the last bit is poured out, so perhaps this avoids the issue. When I am dropping the temp from the highest melting point, I don't just turn the thermostat down - I turn it off. I don't need for it to be heating any longer once the wax has reached either 185° (soy) or 200°F (palm).

Another difference I thought of is that I ladle my wax out of the pot into 2# pour pots to add FO & dye, until the last pound, when I will pick up the Presto and pour the last of the wax into the pour pot. Perhaps that gives the presto longer to cool down before it's totally emptied...:confused:

burned down a bush next to my back steps and the railing on my stairs...

Holy Burning Bush, Batman! :shocked2: Glad it was only the bush and railing and not the inside of the house!

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Stella those are great pointers and candle man that's a great idea.

I will turn it off completly and let it sit for a few min. till I pour...

I do agree that I shouldn't of thrown it out the window, although my back yard is empty you never know if there might of been a toy or something out there and it could of caught fire.

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I really think this is a lesson in proper safety practices for dealing with hot wax and oil and NOT about the Presto brand pot. As it is, we are all committing "operator errors" by melting wax in the Presto pot since it states clearly in the instruction booklet that it is not to be used for that. I'm sure the thermostat on the newer ones is more sensitive to temperature changes so that by pouring fluid out of the pot and revealing the bottom, it cools quickly and reheats. My point is that there is probably nothing wrong with this piece of cooking equipment. We all must use common sense and proper cautionary measures while using a cooking appliance as a wax melter.

I learned to make soap before venturing into candle making...lye is a caustic chemical that's essential to making soap from scratch. Therefore, I had to learn to respect it and what it might do if I handled it incorrectly. It's the same thing here...handle wax and heat sources with caution, respect, and focus at all times.

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I've been using 2 presto pots for the past four years and have been thinking of buying a new one. Now I'm scared to!
just bought a new one at Walmart tonight. Will be keeping a close eye on it.

Oh for goodness sake! :rolleyes2 Sigh. Well, if this makes people pay more attention to what they are dong, I guess that's a good thing...

I really think this is a lesson in proper safety practices for dealing with hot wax and oil and NOT about the Presto brand pot.

Yeah you right. I find it shocking to think that people will pick up something that is on fire to throw or carry it anywhere! People obviously need to educate themselves about safety procedures on preventing and dealing with fire...

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These is all valuable points to remember. It can be easy to get caught up in the "fun" of the process of candle making and forget that this is very flammable stuff that we're dealing with. My husband doesn't call my candle area "my laboratory" for nothing I guess. Although he claims it has to do with some of my not-so-great fo mixing experiments...sigh...:sad2:

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Yes I have been using mine for quite sometime and I never let my GB464 Soy Wax get any higher that 214 degrees and that is when I put the arrow on #2...I think everybody pot may read differently so I would take the temp and know your pot so this way if it is off you can lower or higher the degrees.

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