Evaporative cooler problem

Perhaps someone can make a suggestion.
I bought a new evaporative cooler last spring. (An evaporative cooler replaces an A/C in dry weather and costs much less to run. It runs water though pads, which have air sucked through them and blown into the building. They work quit well.)
This spring, as usual, I prepared it for a summer's use. Replaced pads, lubricated blower, cleaned the interior, and checked it out. For the first time I found a inch or more coat of calcium from my hard-water well in the bottom of the reservoir (about 3 x 3'). Never happened before in some 30 previous years. Granular on top and a 1/4 to 1/2" of solid below. The problem is removing the solid. Scraping will take many many hours and will surely damage the paint. I'm currently trying a generous amount of Lime-a-way (active ingedient unlisted) in an inch or so of water on it. Helps, after a couple of days, but not very much. I tried adding some toilet bowl cleaner (20% hydrochloric acid) earlier this morning but so far little help. I don't want to damage the baked-on enamel paint if I can help it. Swimming pool acid sounds rather drastic to me.
A cooler book I have suggests a tile and tub cleaner. Those I looked at at Walmart didn't say much if anything about removing calcium so I will use the TB cleaner instead - this brand (The Works) works VERY well on my toilet the past few years.
Evidently my well water has suddenly this past year become much much 'harder'.
I have plans for avoiding this problem in the future but first I need to remove what's there now.
TIA
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On 3/26/2012 12:24 PM, KenK wrote:

I always used city water so my deposits may not have been as bad as yours.
But, looking on the internet looks like you might try:
Vinegar solution (most likely garden vinegar) or
Lime Away or CLR.
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KenK wrote:

You have two choices:
1. Mechanically (chip/scrape)
2. Chemically. Any acid will do it but for that much you will either have to use a strong acid or wait and wait and wait, renewing the weak acid when it becomes neutralized. Lime-Away probably uses phosphoric acid. Too weak. Rome could have been built in less time of you try vinegar. Swimming pool acid is hydrochloric acid...same as your toilet bowl cleaner and what is in your stomach. That's what I would use, diluted by 50-75% to try, stronger if necessary. IT would become neutralized and need to be changed too. BTW, add acid to water, *NEVER* vice versa.
Both ways are likely to damage the paint.
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dadiOH
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I'm in NY, where swampers simply don't work. We do have humidifiers for the winter, which face similar problems. The ones which have fill only, load up with minerals bacteria, and so on.
Aprilaire has a model with a flow through evaporative pad. Much of the water drains out the bottom. Not a big concern, as water is plentiful and inexpensive. Sure cuts down on maintenance.
Sounds like the water drain for the swamper will sure make the maintenance easier. Now, the OP is still left with the question of how to remove the scale from his unit.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
I don't have a suggestion for removing it, but to avoid it in the future, install a tap kit (I forgot the exact name they use) . It takes a small amount of the circulating water and dumps it out onto the lawn. This allows the chemical concentraion in the system to reach an equalibrium level where the concentration of chemicals does not go up indefintly. Without the tap the water and all the chemicals goes in, the water evaporates and ALL the chemicals remain in the cooler.
If you set up the tap so say 10% of the water is dumped and 90% evaporates, then the concentration will go up to about 10x but no higher.
Mark
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