Munchkin Contender Gas Boiler Review

Munchkin Contender The Munchkin Contender Gas Boiler is a Modulating Condensing Wall Hung Boiler made by Heat Transfer Products Inc. and comes in 4 models that offer a modulation input range of 18,000 to 120,000 BTU/HR with efficiencies of 92 – 93% AFUE. The ultra high efficiency of the Munchkin Contender makes it Energy Star Rated and eligible for rebates of up to $200 from the Appliance Stimulus Package, Grants of up to $6500 under the Weatherization Assistance Program for those who qualify, and a 30% Income Tax Credit up to $1500. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is providing “Free Money” to help stimulate jobs in industry and with installers especially products that save energy or are “green.” The free money programs are to help offset the costs associated with the upgrade and allow the payback to reach the consumer faster further stimulating the economy. Heat Transfer Products Inc. which manufactures the Munchkin Contender Gas Boiler has been manufacturing and designing heat exchangers since 1974 and offers a full array of products including highly efficient boilers, gas water heaters, solar water heaters, indirect water heaters, electric water heaters, and hot water storage tanks.

The Munchkin Contender Gas Boiler is a Modulating Condensing Boiler or, Mod/Con as we refer to them in the trade. The Modulation and the Condensing Boiler feature is what give these boilers their ultra high efficiencies. The modulating feature has a burner that modulates to match you heating demand. The Munchkin Contender uses a microprocessor-based control with an LED display that monitors the heating demand and controls the modulation of the burner for the most efficient operation possible. The fuel is thoroughly mixed in the burner fan before going to the stainless steel burner for the best possible combustion and efficiency. The Condensing boiler is the other half of the high efficiencies of the Mod/Con Boilers. In a condensing boiler the boiler has an extra section that uses the heat present in the flue gases to preheat the water coming into the boiler. This extra section removes so much of the heat that steam present in the flue gases actually condense into water and the exhausting flue gases are cool enough that they can exhaust through PVC pipe. With the clean burning and high efficiency comes an added benefit. The exhaust emissions of the Mod-Con boilers as we refer to them in the trade are exceptionally clean and have low emissions of CO and NOx, which is good for the environment and lowers the emissions that contribute to smog and global warming. This is the other side of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act “Free Money Programs.” The programs are also designed to promote “Green Technology” and make it affordable for you to upgrade. “Going Green” is nice but for going green to face universal acceptance there must be a pay back. With the incentives available the pay back can be putting lower energy cost dollars in your pocket sooner.

The Munchkin Contender Gas Boiler is available in 4 models:

  • The MC50, which modulates from 18,000 to 50,000 BTU/HR Input.
  • The MC80, which modulates from 19,000 to 80,000 BTU/HR Input.
  • The MC99, which modulates from 44,000 to 99,000 BTU/HR Input.
  • The MC50, which modulates from 44,000 to 120,000 BTU/HR Input.

The Munchkin Contender Gas Boilers feature a compact wall hung design that operates very quietly. They have a lightweight plastic cover made from Noryl that lifts off providing easy access for servicing. The Munchkin Contender Gas Boilers can fire on natural gas or, can be converted to LP gas, and they have a Stainless Steel Heat Exchanger that is built into a single assembly that also encloses the back flue and water manifold. This simplified design contributes to the lower cost of the Munchkin Contender. The Munchkin Contender Gas Boilers are pre-wired for easy installation of the optional Vision1, 2, or, 3 Control System. Standard features on the Munchkin Contenders are the modulating stainless steel burner with 3:1 turndown, 2-stage operation for heating and domestic hot water production, 2” PVC venting direct and intake, direct-spark ignition, 30-PSI relief valve, low pressure gas valve, pump relay with freeze protection, inlet and outlet temperature sensors, an on/off switch and a convenience outlet, outside termination fittings, and a 12-Year limited warranty. Options include the Vision 1 Control Panel with provisions for domestic hot water priority and outside temperature sensing, sidewall vent kit, condensate pump, condensate neutralizer kit, and a concentric venting kit. The Munchkin Contender does not have a DHW coil but will make a seemingly endless amount of hot water when a SuperStor Ultra Indirect Water Heater is installed on one of the zones.

The Munchkin Contender Gas Boilers are a great choice for an energy saving upgrade and the “Free Money Programs” can start a quick payback on your investment.

Comments

  1. George Worrall says

    I have had an MC 80 for about one year and was happy with it through the heating season but it is malfunctioning this year. Although i would not expect it to be maintenance free, some parts failed and troubleshooting has been a challenge even for properly trained technicians. We are using one of the most reputable heating/plumbing contractors in CT and have spent $800 for service and parts and had a week without heat. The problem is these are complicated systems and the parts are not standard or available locally (even though the manufacturer is just 2 hours away in Mass.) So last Monday it stopped with an F09 code, the technician tested and was not getting ignition spark, Heat Transfer Products Inc. tech support said the gasket on the ignitor was bad so a new one was ordered and the repair people brought it when it arrived Friday, but still no spark. So next was replace the ignitor ($285 + $60 overnight shipping) HTP products said it must have a hairline crack preventing spark. Now plenty of spark and it is getting gas (smelled for it myself at the discharge pipe, but it will not ignite. The technician dismantled the system and cleaned everything according to HTP’s instructions (this was also done at the end of last heating season) and still it won’t light. That was Saturday but Tech support is not open so will have to wait for another service call Monday. What would I do if this was February and we were without any heat or hot water? Folks stay away from the Munchkin there is no support.

    • lewey's heating says

      Hello George,
      Checking this web site out, by now you have your unit fixed.
      My question is do you have an outside sensor?
      If you do disconnect it.
      Let me know thanks…..
      Walter

  2. Rick Percooo says

    I am sorry to hear of your trouble, George. I am considering having an MC 99 installed, but have heard a few negative reports from competing contractors. It is the company’s reaction to a homeowner’s problems I was most concerned about. Someone over here (near Albany, NY) has been reportedly waiting 2-3 weeks for a control board part. I tend to root for the Home Team, but reliability -or absent that, easy servicing – is important. I had hoped that having the home office nearby would be an advantage. Good luck.

  3. charles welsh says

    I have a 3 yr old munchkin contender MC120. So far every year, I have had to replace a thermistor (3 of them). Not an expensive part but a pain in the a#% to have to drain, and bleed my unit that’s practically brand new.
    Also had to replace water pressure switch last year. Now I’m trying to diagnose this years problem. It’s either the motherboard, or the fan motor. Pretty sure neither one are cheap. It’s now January I’m in upstate NY and its a good thing I have a wood stove. Think I’m gonna install a instant hot water heater in the meantime. I’m sure they’re cheaper than the parts to fix this piece of crap.
    Don’t buy a Munchkin…

  4. Lindsae Willet says

    We built our house back in July of 2009 and had a Munchkin Contender installed. For the past 3 years, we have had nothing but problems with our unit. We are constantly getting the F09 code. We have had two different HVAC techs come try to diagnose the problem, but unfortunately, it has not been resolved. We had a new ignitor installed during the first visit, but that did not fix the problem. The unit was completely serviced during the second visit, but nothing was found to be “wrong” with our unit. On a daily basis, we have to go down into our basement and reset the unit multiple times just to have hot water for a half hour or so at a time. Each visit into the basement includes resetting the unit 2 to 3 times, just so that it will actually ignite. I can’t count the number of times I have had to go to work without showering, since I, like most other people, do not enjoy taking a freezing cold shower. It is so upsetting to think that a 3 1/2 year old unit could have this many troubles in its’ short life. It’s extremely embarrassing when we have company for a weekend and none of them are able to take showers or wash their hands because our water will not heat up. We have experienced nothing but frustration with our unit. We just want to know what is causing our unit to malfunction and we want it to be fixed. Please help.

    • Redwood says

      Hi Lindsae,
      The F09 is the error code for No Flame and it will retry 3 times then go into lock out. I need you to look through the window at the burner as the burner goes to light, and observe several things then report back with your findings. First look at the igniter and see if it is providing spark. Then I want to know if you get the flame lit. If the flame does light does the unit go into lockout with the burner lit?

      Please let me know what you find,
      Redwood

  5. Lindsae Willett says

    The igniter is providing spark. However, it usually takes three to four cycles before it will actually ignite a flame. During each of those cycles, it will attempt to light the burner three times before going into lockout. When it is attempting to light the burner, we do see a spark. Once the burner is lit, it runs fine at that time. But, it does not reignite on its own, so every time we need hot water or heat, we need to go down and reset it.
    Thank you very much for all your help, Lindsae

    • Redwood says

      Hi Lindsae,
      Great information! I’m going to tell you that probably the biggest source of trouble with any of these units made by any of the manufacturers is an installation error where the unit was installed with an inadequate gas supply. The service tech should check this with a manometer while the unit is firing at the maximum rate and other gas appliances sharing the gas supply are also drawing from it. I think installers often are scared to quote a higher installation price to upgrade the gas supply as needed in fear of losing the job to a lower bidder. This is the first thing I check because so often it is the problem.
      Good Luck! I hope this helps,
      Redwood

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