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Old GE downdraft steam boiler

Ken D.
Ken D. Member Posts: 836
Yep, a GE LA series boiler. Those things got combustion efficiencies in the very high 80's with the original burner. Very good, but different.


  • Hollis
    Hollis Member Posts: 105
    Old GE downdraft steam boiler

    I have one, seems techs are scared to death to touch it. I'm not sure why. It has a Becket AF instead of the (what? Timkin?) gun that I see in the old manuals, the controls seem all off the shelf. And it seems to me to be basically like any other boiler.

    Seems to run fine and has a combustion efficiency of 83% (I know that there is a different "boiler efficiency", I have no idea about what that is.)

    Would you replace this old girl if every thing is running OK? I believe its about a 155,000 BTU and heats seven apts.
    Any idea of the fair price to replace her? (thinking if I had to, an H.B. Smith that can convert to oil or gas.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Is this

    the one where the burner is on top, firing down into the chamber?

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  • Hollis
    Hollis Member Posts: 105

    Yep,..thats it.
  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 958
    downdraft boiler

    I'd love to be able to buy one new. I like the design concept. They seem to be able to consistently deliver good efficiency. Downdraft firing shows up in todays higher end steam generators.

  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981

    If the guy before me didn't service one of these bad boys right...and it started to soot up....they are a GAMBLE, at best...to get clean.

    I would have to MAKE gaskets for the front door,as the originals were asbestos....and to have to even come close to the chamber with a brush brought all kids of SCARY to my young mind...when I did them. (for the record....I was working just beside the last chamber makers for these boilers, Lynn Refractories...and saw 2 left as I was taking one of the last available original chambers off a pallet!I'm thinking about 1987)

    They WERE great boilers, but the parts availability has taken its toll.As long as it was tested and adjusted properly, I would still take a crack at it.

    America's Finest Steel...to be sure.(circa 1949-68)Chris
  • mtfallsmikey
    mtfallsmikey Member Posts: 765

    That is why the lone remaing person in my area who can repair/set up these beasts became a minister! Seriously tho, you will be far better off replacing it.
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    I'm surprised

    it has a Beckett, and the end cone isn't on the bottom of the firebox by now..Carlin burners were the burner of choice b/c of their higher static and the retention head's durability over Beckett's F3 or F6 end cone in that sort of application. Plus, you want a 45 or 60 degree nozzle to reach down and be narrow in the spray pattern not possible w/ the AF. TON'S of heat reflecting back on the vertical blast tube.

    Start planning on replacement. It's a high mass boiler that is not easy to service.
  • Jim_139
    Jim_139 Member Posts: 61

    The original burner components and controls were OEM. I had the good fortune of working with a tech who had previously worked for the only GE dealer in our area. He had a wealth of knowledge that he shared with me. The company we worked for had every available part for repair, compressors, oil valves, controls, refractories, gaskets, door bricks, etc. When the business was to the Big Red A, a lot of that stuff went right in the dumpster.

    Fortunately some of it was salvaged after hours but a lot was gone forever. Too bad. GE was way ahead of most of the other boiler mfr's for efficiency, ultra low sound level, durability, etc.
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