If replacing the part would not be cost effective for such an old
system, then I am wondering if there is any chance the life of the
existing part could be extended by wrapping the part with some kind of
tape and/or insulating material to prevent moisture from consensing
directly on the rusty metal casing of that part when the unit is
Would that really stick to the rusty metal? Doesn't the rust have
to be brushed off first in order for the paint to really stick? I
would be scared of using a wire brush to try and prepare the surface
of a tank that is pressurized. Likely the most I could do before
painting it would be to wipe it off with a cloth.
The unit you showed in your picture that you posted is approximately 24
years old or better.  Most residential HVAC equipment will give you
20 years of service [albeit without proper maintenance]. I'd be looking at
replacing the unit with a more current, efficient unit. You'd likely cut
your electrical usage by 40% with a newer high efficiency unit.
Understand it is a home appliance and has a life cycle.
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