You’re going to use your home’s gas furnace this winter. And many people have gas fireplaces. They add a beautiful ambiance to any get-together. All of us want to cut heating costs, but with gas prices lowered, you may use your gas furnace or fireplaces more often this year without a guilty conscience!
What is a Capacitor?
Gas entering your furnace is ignited by the pilot light, and burners heat the air. The blower then moves the warmed air into and through the ductwork in your house. Your furnace uses a lot of energy, so to supply the extra energy needed to power the blower, gas furnaces have a capacitor. Like a battery, the capacitor stores the extra energy that is needed to “jump start” the furnace blower.
Problem Indicators/What You Can Do
The capacitor is a vital part of your gas furnace system, so it’s important to recognize some of the signs that indicate there might be a problem.
Ehow suggests some DIY (do-it-yourself) fixes if you think your capacitor is faulty:
- Make sure the power switch is in the “on” position. If it is, turn up the thermostat and see if the blower motor starts within a few minutes.
- Open the access panel to the furnace and listen for a relatively loud humming noise. If you hear that sound and it doesn’t stop, there’s an electrical difficulty. If you hear a “clicking” sound when the capacitor kicks in, that’s a problem too. Call your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) professional
- If you notice a burning smell, that’s an indicator that some of the electrical wires that power the capacitor may be frayed or corroded. Call your HVAC professional.
- If the capacitor isn’t holding the charge needed to run the blower, the blower may run slower and/or hotter. This can lead to a furnace motor problem; be sure to call your HVAC professional.