Getting rust build up out of toilet tank

schoolhouse_gwFebruary 3, 2010

I mean major rust over everything in there. Seems I just had the brains to look in the tank to see why no matter how often I cleaned the toilet bowl the rust streaks were back the next day - or same day. It looks like a coral reef in there.

Now I do remember that a plumber told me one time to not put harsh chemicals in a tank because it will make the rubber bits disintegrate. Thought I'd post on this forum to get another plumber's point of view or hopefully a hint as to what cleaner I could use. I know to shut the water intake valve off before I start to tackle the job.

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I started with steel wool and wiping excess off with paper towels - all I can say is what a mess. Finally put a drop cloth behind the tank so rust wouldn't splash on the walls. Did I forget to mention that I didn't wear rubber gloves? I'm hoping straight vinegar won't hurt the plastic ball or parts. I dumped it in the bottom of the tank with the couple inches of water I couldn't get out. Letting it soak.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 2:39PM
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Any considerations toward curing the cause of the rust instead of treating the symptoms?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 6:55PM
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Used to have a water softener years ago but my well water is so hard that it really didn't do a whole lot plus I don't have a separate faucet for drinking water. Fast forward to a several years ago when I had the galvanized pipes replaced, so I probably should think about giving a modern water softener another try. Any recommendations on which type of unit I should get, brand name, ect? I suspect my hot water heater needs replacing also, can't help but think it's probably half silted up with rust.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 8:07PM
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I just now saw a previous post below on water softeners not performing and water softener brands and I think that's answering my questions. Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 8:11PM
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Depending on the water conditions, # of people in the house and plumbing-appliance requirements a correctly sized softener will treat your hardness but if the iron content is high additional equipment will be required.

You needn't plumb a separate faucet for untreated drinking water.

Treating your water problems will extend the life of your plumbing, fixtures, appliances, clothes, and save you money on soap and detergents.

My water is 30 grains hard and my water heater is 15 years old... average life around here for a WH is 1.5 to 2 years.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 8:20PM
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The "rust" could be sediment accumulation, particle size of 25 microns and less. Not unusual with well water. Seldom poses any health hazard.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 7:54AM
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When was the last time you had a comprehensive water test?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 9:38AM
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Never had a water test. Who does one contact and is it expensive?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 2:24PM
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Living on a well and not testing the water for bacteria and nitrates at least every year?

Get a water test from an independent lab. An independent lab has no agenda and won't be trying to sell you water treatment equipment. Go to to locate a certified lab near you. This is a MUST DO because without it everything is a guess. A quickie water test from Sears or a water softener company won't be as accurate (and possibly not as competent) as from a certified independent lab.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 3:18PM
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Get your water tested. Fix the problem, not the symptom. Then, replace the toilet. Most of the new ones out there work far better than the older ones, and you'll get rid of the nuisance. It'll stay nice looking too, if you fix your water.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 8:33AM
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