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How would you address the rust/lime buildup inside?

Bob, there are a number of commercial products available that may work for you. Probably the one that you would find in your local hardware store is called something like CLR. Its supposed to remove Calcium, Lime and Rust (hence the name CLR). I think it uses sulfamic acid for its active ingredient. I use a product called “Rust Raze” from Morton International (da folks dat sell salt), which is a “COMMERCIAL STRENGTH RUST REMOVER FOR WATER SOFTENERS & HOUSEHOLD STAINS”, to remove iron from my lime filter, which raises the pH of my well water. It say “CAUTION: Contains sodium hydrosulfate. . . . “ It’s a granular solid that you dilute something like 4 or 3 ounces in a gallon of water and pour into the brine well of your water softener. I pour a gallon of the solution into the inlet of the filter, add more lime and then flush the chemical & fines out on the ground for a hour or so before running the water back in the house.

I doubt that household vinegar, which is 5% acidity, would have much effect on the lime & rust. If you can get your hands on a quart of Glacial Acetic Acid, which used to be sold at photo stores for use in developing black & white film, that may work as its 28% acid. Citric acid may also work if you use enough of it, alone or with the acetic acid. If all else fails, try hydrochloric acid. That’ll remove the lime & rust but may also remove the piping, etc.

C.J.V. - better living through chemistry, yes
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