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Never Cleaned Munchkin 80M

frypanfrypan Member Posts: 3
In 2005 I had a Munchkin 80M installed.  For years it has run relatively flawlessly.  So either nobody told me or I was not paying attention that you MUST clean a condensing boiler every year.

Today a tech came to replace the pressure release valve on the system and he asked me when the last time that it was cleaned or serviced that led down a road of problems.

I also recently had the intake replaced on the system because the boiler, although installed correctly, was pulling in its own exhaust.  The tech said that this will also corrode the electrical system inside the boiler that will go any time now.

The pressure release valve was also filled with black goo because it has never been serviced.

So all in all he said that my system was on its last legs.  He said that he would reluctant to even take it apart because that might cause more problems.

Is all of this dire information true?  Is my boiler really beyond repair?  Would a new system be any more efficient?  To be honest the Current Muchkin did not reduce my gas bill at all when it was installed in my old and drafty house.  I think a non-condensing boiler might be in order next time around...


  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Cleaning Munchkins:

    Maybe your old drafty house has more heat loss than you realize.

    I find that some who come here can not differentiate between rising gas prices and falling cubic foot usage.  There's a relationship.

    That said, if your Munchkin wasn't "regurgitating" exhaust, there is no reason that it is toast inside. And if your "old drafty house" is as old and drafty as you think, it may not be in condensing mode all that much. Is there water coming out of the drain on the bottom? If water is coming out, then the insides are probably OK. I'm wondering about the black goo in the water. Where's that coming from? What is the piping for your system? A 2005 Munchie may have the remote controller on a ribbon cable. If it does, look in the installation manual. See how it is running. You can't tell anything without a digital combustion analyzer. I personally would never make the prognostication that the Munchie was on its last legs without doing an analysis on it. 4 Torx bolts on the gas valve and 8 where the burner goes into the HX and the burner comes off and gives you access to the HX. I cleaned one last week that I put in in 2007 and the only thing inside the HX was a dehydrated insect. You don't know until you look inside.

    The "Tech" should have told you that they get scuzzy inside when someone plants bushes in front of the exhaust. I think that the "Tech" doesn't like Munchies or he is on commission sales pay and wants to change your boiler.
  • ChrisChris Member Posts: 3,056
    Second Opinion

    I agree with Ice. Find someone that knows what they are doing. Accessing the HX isn't that big of a deal. Boiler also probably does not have the Vision 1 Outdoor Reset Package on it unless you paid for the option. Back in 2005 you had to pay for ODR it wasn't included in the standard boiler.

    Not being cleaned will reduce efficiency and you will never get the efficiency out of it if you don't have the Vision 1 Package hooked up. Best investment is in a heat loss, clean the boiler and add the Vision 1 package if the boiler is ok.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • unclejohnunclejohn Member Posts: 912
    never let that

    service tech in your house again. Like the others said it takes less then 15 mins to actually look at the HX. And maybe and hour to clean. I have open up Munchkins after many many years only to find a nice claen HX.
  • frypanfrypan Member Posts: 3

    Thanks for the help.  I love the internet. 

    I will look at some of the items that you were talking about tonight like condensate coming out.  Is this thing hard to clean for someone who is relatively handy?

    Yea my house is pretty drafty. It was built in 1880 and sits on a field stone foundation. It could be rising gas prices that I am seeing but I honestly NEVER seen it get better.  I should get the past records to see if my utilization/temperature has changed before I assume.  It would be interesting.

    The exhaust problem was visible.  The wind was blowing and  you could see it being sucked back into the house for a second trip.  I will snag a picture for you to get a look tonight.

    The black ooze was inside of the pressure release valve.

    The boiler does NOT have the ODR kit.  I am impressed.  Can I still get it?

    I should not jump to the worst case scenario.
  • knotgrumpyknotgrumpy Member Posts: 207

    Jump out of the Frypan, into the fire...

    These guys will help you.
  • ChrisChris Member Posts: 3,056
    edited April 2013
    NO ODR

    Probably no condensate. Boiler may have never condensed a day in it's life. That exhaust is a major issue. Thank god you have a drafty house. Has anyone had spells where they haven't felt well and don't know why? If so, you may have just found the culprit.

    I highly recommend you get a CO Detector down there until that venting issue is fixed. Is the boiler drawing it's fresh air from the outside? Please say yes. Because if it's pulling from the space all that vent exhaust that is coming back in is being sucked right into the boiler. Not a good thing.

    At this point, this is a health and safety issue and you best get someone there as soon as you can that knows what they are doing.

    You can still get the kit but will need to change out the boiler control with the updated control.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • RobGRobG Member Posts: 1,850

    What was the initial problem that you called the service company about? It sounds like the relief valve may have blown (expansion tank?). The exhaust regurgitation is not good, but where I live the wind changes as quickly as my wife's moods, one day east, one day west. Get a qualified tech out there to asses your system and go from there. Do not use the same company and ask for a different tech, they will probably just try to reaffirm  the first techs diagnosis to cover their butt.

    Use the "find a contractor" section on this site and make sure that you let them know the the type of equipment that you have and that they bring a tune up kit and combustion analyser. If you can't find a contractor from the "find a contractor" let us know, post your location and I'm sure someone can be recommended.

  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 3,925
    try the find a contractor section

    it is the tab to the right of the Wall tab up above.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • frypanfrypan Member Posts: 3

    This all started when the intake fan broke the first tech came out and fixed that but did not have a pressure release valve handy.  The next day another tech came out to fix the pressure release valve.  The second tech from the same company was the one who told me that boiler was on its last legs.

    So I called a contractor that is factory trained and only does condensing boilers.  He was also recommended on Angie's list.  It was the first time I saw anyone hook a laptop to the thing.  Unless that was just a clever ruse?

    Excluding a few error codes that he could fix he said that the boiler was fine but it needed a good cleaning.  He showed me the pile of 'coffee grounds' in the system before he vacuumed them out.  He clearly knew these systems well.

    The venting as far as I can tell does look ok according to page 43 of the manual.

    The technician that came yesterday said that it was wrong and had another way.  I am going to trust him on this one.  He did attribute the failure of the intake to the recycled exhaust.

    I have several CO2 sensors around the house and one near the boiler.  We have never had a problem.

    Thanks for all of the help.  I panicked over nothing.  Like someone once told me, "Trust but verify."  I am glad that I did.
  • RobGRobG Member Posts: 1,850
    Good for you!

    I'm glad that you found a qualified tradesman to take care of your system. The "coffee grounds" is quite normal for a system that has not been regularly serviced, and yes, a laptop can and should be hooked up to check the previous error codes. I'm glad that you listened to the advice given on this site, it probably saved you a few thousand dollars.

    P.S. Keep up the annual maintenance

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