As a new homeowner, you should get into the habit of inspecting your property and appliances at the end and start of every season to spot potential problems before they get worse. One appliance you should check at the end of winter is your furnace. You will want to make sure the oil burners and fan is clean and fully operational. When inspecting the fan, you should look at the run capacitor. The run capacitor is a small cylindrical part connected to a bracket next to the fan assembly. If you see oil leaking from the capacitor, you'll need to replace it. This is an easy procedure that most new homeowner's can do on their own without any help or special training. This explains how to do it.

Turn Off The Electricity

Turn off the electricity going to the furnace at the circuit breaker to make sure you don't get an electrical shock while working on replacing the run capacitor.

Getting To The Run Capacitor

Take off the panel door covering the fan assembly on the furnace. The door can have screws holding it down or it can rest on a hinge to keep it in place. Remove the screws to take the door off. On a hinged door, push the panel up and out of the hinge to remove it.

Release The Electrical Charge

The run capacitor keeps a stored charge in it that the fan motor uses to give it the extra power it needs to start up. You need to release the charge to avoid getting shocked. Take a flat-headed screwdriver with an insulated handle to protect you against getting an electrical shock, and place the flat-head part across the two electrical terminals sticking out of the capacitor. This will release the stored electrical charge.

Remove The Run Capacitor

Take a pair of needle-nose pliers and pull the two wires off of the terminal connections. Take a note of which wire is connected to what terminal so you can put them on the new capacitor in the same order. Unthread and remove the mounting screws connecting the run capacitor to the bracket. The capacitor will slide right out of the bracket.

Ordering A New Run Capacitor

There are two key pieces of information on the label for the capacitor. The first is the storage capacity of the electrical charge in the capacitor, and the second is the voltage rating of the amount of electricity going to it. Make sure the storage capacity and the voltage rating is the same on the new one as it was for the old one.

Install The New Run Capacitor

Slide the capacitor into the bracket and secure it with the mounting screws. Attach the two wires back on the capacitor. Replace the panels on the furnace and turn the electricity back on. You should run the furnace to make sure the fan turns on when the burners heat up. 

For more assistance, consider contacting a professional like those at Shearman Oil Inc.