I have a central heating system that was installed in this house in 2006. Tonight, while I was taking a nap my wife said that she suddenly heard a loud whine/whistle sound that slowly lowered in pitch and loudness. As it lowered the heated air that was coming from the vents slowed down with it. At this point she turned off the heater at the thermostat and woke me up. The entire house smelled very strongly of an acrid burning smell (like an electrical fire).
The smell has gone away now about an hour later, but in that time I checked the basement where the heating unit is and it didn't smell at all.
When I looked at the heating unit, it had 2 breakers and neither were tripped. I opened the side panel and manually moved the blower and it turned fine. Then about 20 minutes after it happened I turned the heat back on and the blower started, but very slowly and after about 60 seconds slowed itself down again. If you manually push the blower while it is on, it will spin for a few seconds then slow. You can hear that it's trying to move itself.
If you flip the left breaker only to off it completely stops and makes no noise. If you flip the right breaker only to off nothing changes.
When it comes to home repair I am as useless as a noodle in a tornado. Also, cannot afford a repairman at this point...and it's below freezing outside. :(
Took some pictures for my own sake and for explanations sake:
First, here is the whole picture:
Here is the capacitor (the only one I can find anywhere):
When I shorted the capacitor and then tested it for voltage I get nothing at all. I have no idea if that's normal but I only have a Voltage meter not a Multimeter.
Here are the wires that went into the Capacitor:
The 2 purple ones went to the same terminal (top) and the orange went to the other one. The thick purple and the orange ones then went to the back of the blower motor, while the small purple one traveled up to this thingy:
I have no idea what it is or what it does.
So where do I go from here? There are so many wires that I can't make sense of them all and I have no idea what the "thingy" is or if it's the problem. Any help is much appreciated.
P.S. --> When I shorted the capacitor with a screwdriver to test it, nothing happened at all. No small spark or anything. Is that normal?