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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    4

    Confused Why would aMunchkin 399M die after only 6 years.


    A Munchkin 399M was installed in Nov. 2004 in our home. It was a very large investment however we figured the boiler would last 12-15 years.
    Last winter (after only 6 years) it started with loud banging and vibrating. The plummers continuously had to rinse/drain out muck/sludge from the system and we were told it had to be replaced by this winter.

    Munchkin is one of the best - so how could this happen?
    Could the installers have eliminated a vital Munchkin element to win bid?
    How would a residential home owner know if a system bid included all the manufacturer's requirements?
    Is there a specific dept/individual at Heat Transfer Products that can help us evaluate our current situation?

    I would think that a life span of 6 years for the Munchkin boiler would be unacceptable to Heat Transfer Products and that they would have their own questions as to why the boiler failed.

    I don't want to repeat any mistakes in the replacement of the boiler.
    What questions have I not asked that pertain to the Munchkin 399M?

    Any advice/information will be greatly appreciated. Winter is on our doorstep in the Mountains and I must act soon.

    Judith D.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,874
    Ask them to determine the cause of failure. So you don't have to replace it again in another 5 to 6 years.

    Why must it be replaced? Is the factory rep saying this?
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    4,842
    BT is right as far as finding the underlying cause and rectifying it before offering up another sacrifical offering. Flushing muck does sound like there is a leakage issue somewhere in the system. I have seen high line boilers fail in as little as 2 heating seasons do to the constant addition of fresh water due to undetected leaks. The Munchkin is a decent piece and it does carry a 12 year warranty against leaks but there are stipulations. Instead of using a plumbing firm, look for a HVAC contractor who specializes in hydronics. Another question I would have is the boiler properly sized for your application. While the 399M is a modulating HE boiler it's rated up to 319,000 I=B=R. I wish all of my boiler customers only planned on getting 12 years or so out of their new boilers, mine all expect 50
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    1,673
    1. Only 6% fail this soon.
    2. I wouldn't use valid names; there are 'bots that cruise the web looking for these.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    4,842
    Quote Originally Posted by WhoIsThat? View Post
    1. Only 6% fail this soon.
    2. I wouldn't use valid names; there are 'bots that cruise the web looking for these.

    Crap! Heaterman IS my name.
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    1,673
    And mine is Jason Bourne

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    54
    What radiation does the boiler use? Baseboard? Cast iron radiators? Fan coil units? Pex tubing for radiant floor heat?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    4
    Sorry for delayed reponse, but had to dig up the information.
    The home was built 19 years ago with a floor radiant system in part plus baseboards.
    They say current problem was caused by the gray poly tubing used in the floor radiant system. The gray poly does not have an oxygen barrier, therefore oxygen may enter the system causing the acid level to rise causing a corrosive action to occur within the system. This would attack the pumps, zone valves and boiler along with causing sludge to build up in the tubing and boiler.

    Is this reasonable? If in fact the tubing was the cause- then would the Munchkin Warranty be mute?
    I hope that I'm coming up with the right questions which is half the battle.

    Oh - the Munchkin was installed in the summer of 2005 but it SN indicates 11/04- so it's less than 6 years.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    4
    And yes, my name was changed to protect the innocent.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    4,842
    The reason given for your failure is quite plausable. The boiler manufacturer is not likely to step up in this case so you most likely will eat the cost. Are you using the same contractor that installed the Munchkin 6 years ago, if so, ask why they did not investigate the composition of your system before installing the boiler. You will obviously have to address this issue before installing a new boiler and in the same vein, is the existing boiler leaking or showing severe signs of corrosion? What is the reason given for the need for replacement and can the damged boiler sections be replaced without changing out the entire boiler.
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    54
    Quote Originally Posted by Judith DeCamara View Post
    Sorry for delayed reponse, but had to dig up the information.
    The home was built 19 years ago with a floor radiant system in part plus baseboards.
    They say current problem was caused by the gray poly tubing used in the floor radiant system. The gray poly does not have an oxygen barrier, therefore oxygen may enter the system causing the acid level to rise causing a corrosive action to occur within the system. This would attack the pumps, zone valves and boiler along with causing sludge to build up in the tubing and boiler.

    Is this reasonable? If in fact the tubing was the cause- then would the Munchkin Warranty be mute?
    I hope that I'm coming up with the right questions which is half the battle.

    Oh - the Munchkin was installed in the summer of 2005 but it SN indicates 11/04- so it's less than 6 years.
    I can into almost the exact same issue last year, non oxygen barrier tubing and a system full of rust and sludge, the customer had a file of service calls about 2 inches thick from about 10 companys that had worked on it, none of them realized the root problem. We replaced a plugged mixing block and isolated the boiler with a heat exchanger, we used only copper, brass, bronze or stainless on the tubing side.

    I doubt it will be covered under warranty, most boilers spell out pretty clearly that damage caused by excessive make up water or a system that otherwise allows large amounts of oxygen into the water will not be covered.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    611
    I agree, I would go with a different company if they don't help you on the cost of repaires / replacement.
    Also consider the 'Knight' boiler by Lochinvar - they have been very good for us.
    You also might try "heatinghelp.com" to find a good boiler contractor.

    luck dan

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    british columbia
    Posts
    94
    i only know of one boiler that you are allowed to use with poly b and that is the raypak copper fin tube boiler all the rest you must use heat exchanger or warranty is null and void even the viessmann wants you to separate poly b. it does wonders on pumps and everything else.

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