Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Munchkin Update

As I posted before I succumbed to the Flu, we've had a bit of trouble with the munchkin boiler making some loud noises and scary puffs of flame. Last Friday, Barron heating sent a technician out to take a look at it, but of course it didn't do it while he was there, it just ran fine. It didn't even display any error codes. He took some readings and leak-tested the system, but other than an icicle partially blocking the air intake he didn't identify any problems. Naturally, the banging noises resumed almost as soon as we got home, and continued intermittently through the weekend.

I had printed out several key pages from the installation & maintenence guide that I found online (gotta love the internet) including the key to the error codes, so we now knew that the "silver round thingie" was actually the blower. This is where the gas comes into the unit and is mixed with air before being pushed into the combustion chamber. The error code "F10" has to do with the flame not staying lit (as does "F09" which we got later). So we began to suspect that there was an issue with the consistancy of the mixture... sometimes too rich, causing it to backfire (hence the noise and the fireballs) and sometimes too lean, causing the flame to go out. Cary talked to Ross, who is an appliance repair genius, and he agreed that it could be a mixture problem, and above all advised that we should keep calling the technicians out there until it was really truly fixed.

On monday we called Mark, and let him know about the problem. Later, we heard from Seth who is sort of the main dude for radiant heating systems out at Barron, and he sent out "Radiant" Randy (that's what it says on the door of his truck - aparently he's THE radiant technician) to take a look at our system. He agreed that the problem seemed to be in the mix, specifically in the adjustments made to convert the unit from Natural Gas (its standard fuel) to the propane which we are using. There was even some unburned fuel being exhausted from the unit, which would mean the mixture was too rich and the unit wasn't burning as efficiently as it should. Randy made some adjustments and left us feeling pretty hopeful that our problem was finally solved. However...

The next morning we woke up to find the house cooler than it should have been, down to about 60°. The Grundfos pumps were running like crazy, but the munchkin wasn't on so the house was gradually cooling. The munchkin had an error code "F09" and wouldn't start up, even when I hit reset. So, I called back to Barron, and within an hour Randy was back to fine tune the adjustements he'd made before. Basically, he'd turned the mixture down just a little TOO low, so that although the backfiring noises had stoped, there wasn't enough fuel to keep the unit buring. Anyway, it took him just a few minutes to adjust, and since then the unit has been working well. Hopefully we won't have any further problems with it... but in any case, I know that if we do we can call Barron and Randy will be right out to fix us up!

Just in case though, we got out the chainsaw on Sunday and cut up a windfallen snag which is now stacked on the porch to dry out. It feels good to have some firewood for back-up heating. :)

3 comments:

p.sews said...

we have built a log home and installed a Munchkin unit. We have had problems for 3 years now with banging, no hot water and no heat. we get error codes for f01, f04, etc.. we have had the same company that installed it do the work on it and again today we are waiting for them to come out because of an F01 error code an no hot water. GRRRRRRR.........I think it is time to contact the Attorney General's office. Have you received any info from others having problems?

Kathleen said...

SAME PROBLEM -- NO HOT WATER -- AGAIN. NO HEAT -- AGAIN. F01 CODE, NO ARC, NOT ABLE TO RESET. 20 BELOW TONIGHT, LET'S SEE HOW LONG IT TAKES, AND OF COURSE, IT'S SUNDAY.....

Addie said...

I'm happy to report that our Munchkin has been running well ever since... best of luck to you both!