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Munchkin replacement


I am Having a problem with my 13 year old Munchkin boiler.

First of all, I am the only maintenance. I live in Fortuna Cal and virtually no one has hydronic heating. My friend who used to be a local contractor installed it and then moved to Oregon.

It is a great system. In the first 2 years I replaced the the exhaust fan which was sent at no cost from Munchkin (design flaw they said). Installing it was a HUGE pain.

 Since then the boiler (at the most in opportune time) gives an 8 blink fault (air pressure switch fault stuck closed) 2 to 3 times a rear. It is usually solved by turning the power off and back on.It has within the last few days shown this code with increasing frequency.

Now the unit has decided not to work at all and shows no error codes.

What I want to know:

1. is there a replacement boiler (same size) which is now a simpler and more bullet proof  choice than my 13 year old munchkin?

2.Are there easier boilers to maintain than my little red cube Munchkin?

3. Cost doesn't matter much, just simplicity. I have very hard water and have a high tech softener in my system.

Thank you for your help.



  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 3,417
    edited March 2014
    Fire Tube

    Any of the numerous manufacturers that have adopted the fire tube heat exchanger would be a good choice. Lochinvar WHN, Triangle Tube, HTP Elite Fire Tube, SlantFin, Weil McClain to name some. Not all of their boilers use the fire tube, though. HTP still makes a wall hung version of the Munchkin (the Contender).

    The ECR/Dunkirk/Utica is not a fire tube, but has an excellently design HX and is very reliable. I'll attach a pic of its HX and there's a previous thread under my handle that discusses it.

    The main thing, the most important thing IS the installer/servicer. Focus on getting a good one; he's the most important factor, not the boiler.

    I'd recommend that you contact Alan Forbes @ California Radiant and see if he can help. Use the"Find a Contractor" tab above.
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Water quality

    Fire-tube heat exchangers are generally more tolerant of calcium and magnesium than the older high restriction designs like the one in your Munchkin.  If the system uses any appreciable quantity of makeup water, these will accumulate over time which can really make things bad.  How hard is your water?

    Softening exchanges calcium and magnesium ions for sodium (or potassium) ions in the water.  It also increases the chloride content of the water as a side effect.  Many stainless alloys will not tolerate high chloride levels.

    Where water quality is less than perfect, I typically recommend chemical treatments which can prevent most of the problems from affecting the various metals in the system.  Where water quality is truly bad, we fill partially (or sometimes completely) with RO water and then add treatment to prevent corrosion or leaching.
  • RobGRobG Member Posts: 1,850
    Not to

    Not to hijack the thread. Bob, who is the ECR distributor in the area?

  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 3,417

    R.E. Michel for ECR/Utica, Aireco for Dunkirk.
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • RolyRoly Member Posts: 6
    thank you

    Thanks for the replies.

    I'm sticking with the Munchkin. I ordered a blower, water pressure switch and an air pressure switch.

    I'll overhaul the poor thing.

    Recycling is good for the planet!

    Thanks again for the help,

  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 3,417
    Shooting Gallery

    You keep using the shot gun approach and sooner or later you might hit something. How do you know that you need any or all of those parts? It may just need a PROPER cleaning of the burner, HX and condensate drain. Most so called "techs" don't know how to properly service a Munchkin.

    Why don't you hold off on the parts until you get the boiler properly serviced? Without proper maintenance and diagnosis, you're gonna have a heat exchanger failure, then you'll be recycling the Munchkin at the scrap yard.
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • RobGRobG Member Posts: 1,850
    edited March 2014

    I would follow Bob's advice. You will make better use of your credit card on the heat exchanger than you will just buying parts.

  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,582
    2014 engine with a1957 Chevy ignition system...

    I agree with the others. Either get a new Munchkin or a different boiler. The control logic has changed SIGNIFICANTLY from what you have.

    13 years is approaching the normal life expectancy of these appliances.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • RolyRoly Member Posts: 6

    Hi Bob! Thanks for your candor!

    Re:"It may just need a PROPER cleaning of the burner, HX and condensate drain"

    is this process easily described? If so, please describe it. If not, how can I find out?

    I got the parts because:

    1. The mechanical room won't hold a different boiler without a difficult remodel.

    2. the Munchkin tech. said the 8 blink error code meant either blower or pressure switch. He also said he was amazed it hadn't needed a replacement blower in 10 years. I checked the switch. It wasn't working.

    3.The final error was 2 blink. meaning water pressure lock out. Tech said pressure sensor needed changing.

    Thanks again for your help guys,

    I guess I just love 57 Chevy's.

  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    I guess I just love 57 Chevy's.

    cant argue with that, lol... good luck...
  • 4Johnpipe4Johnpipe Member Posts: 475

    Roly if you can change the few parts you mentioned. I would suggest ordering a complete rebuild kit from HTP also. I think HTP has a video on the web site that can guide you through the process. You may have to call them on that. I would think even if you never did it before and you are handy with basic tools the total tune up would take about 5 hours ay a leisurely pace. The MC series is basically the same boiler just wall mounted.
    Considerate People, Considerate Service, Consider It Done!
    email: [email protected]
  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 3,417

    The cleaning process is simple for a tech that knows the boiler, but would be lengthy to describe. I'd look for the video.

    One thing that is essential is removing ALL the debris BETWEEN the HX coils. This is what most people miss, but what must be done. Use a credit card to get between the coils and a soft scrub or toothbrush with CLR. Make sure the drain flows freely.

    Has a combustion analysis ever been performed?
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • RolyRoly Member Posts: 6

    I finally found HTP and couldn't find a rebuild kit anywhere.

    I can handle tools ok since I kept my UH-IB running in Pleiku in '63.......

    If there is a good internet source for a kit please let me know.

    Again thank you for the reply. All of you have been most helpful .

  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 3,417
    Rebuild Kit

    I'd recommend finding the local distributor for HTP and obtaining the parts from them. You should also replace the swirl plate if you go this route.

    In general, I'd don't deal with Internet peddlers, but a google search for "Munchkin Boiler Parts" should give you some options, too.
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • RolyRoly Member Posts: 6
    swirl plate

    I found the swirl plate.

    I'd love to go to my "local Dealer". They sure aren't where I live. A comprehensive search might turn up an HTP dealer in San Francisco, 2075 miles south of me.

    Meanwhile I have no source for the HTP rebuild kit........not even from an "Internet Peddler"

    Thanks for the info on the swirl plate.
  • RobGRobG Member Posts: 1,850
    Boiler Parts

    I did a search on google for "Munchkin boiler replacement parts" and came up with a bunch of sites that have them. here is one:

  • RolyRoly Member Posts: 6

    Thanks for your replies and effort on my behalf. Everyone will be happy to know (especially me) I have found a technician.

    After his evaluation, the blower is fine. the combustion chamber was covered with "coffee grounds" on the bottom and caused the high limit switch to trip. He replaced the ceramic target wall and the refractory, cleaned it and it runs dandy!

    There is no swirl plate on this model.

    So thanks again for all your assistance!

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