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Chlorine Shortage May Spoil Summertime Fun in 2021

Pool Chlorine Freehold NJ: The country is facing the worst chlorine shortage it has ever seen, and it’s hitting just in time for summer. This chlorine shortage, which is quickly overtaking the nation, is pushing chlorine prices higher and higher — just as homeowners are prepping their pools for the upcoming season.  

There are many factors that are leading to this shortage, not the least of which is a surge in demand from last year (thank you pandemic!). This is prompting local pool businesses to stockpile chlorine in all its many forms, from tablets to liquid to powder.

Chlorine is necessary to prevent and kill algae in swimming pools, but it also protects swimmers from waterborne illnesses like cryptosporidium, legionella and the brain-eating Naegleria fowleri. It also keeps disease-ridden mosquitoes away, and keeps cloudy water at bay, which could be a contributing factor to drowning.

Pandemic-Driven Chlorine Shortage

With more than 5.2 million residential inground pools and 255,000 commercial pools in this country, between 60 and 70 percent use chlorine tablets. Last year’s COVID pandemic canceled travel plans and forced everyone to stay at home, driving up the demand for pools and other home improvements.

This, in turn, created even more demand for chlorine.

As if that weren’t bad enough, a manufacturing facility of one of the U.S.’s major suppliers of chlorine tablets, BioLab, experienced a devastating fire this past August. The Lake Charles, Louisiana plant hopes to open back up and start operating again in spring of next year.  But that doesn’t bode well for chlorine supplies this year.

That leaves just two domestic manufacturers of chlorine tablets remaining: Occidental Petroleum and Clearon Corp. Both have made big investments in the production capacity of chlorine to handle the increased demand.

Spike in Price

Chlorine prices will increase about 70 percent this summer, according to industry experts. In many areas, the price of chlorine tablets is double what it was last year. A standard 50-pound bucket of chlorine used to cost between $75 and $85. Now, it’s about $140, predicted to go up to nearly $160 soon.

This has led many pool supply stores to impose quantity restrictions, allowing customers to purchase only one or two buckets each.

What are the Alternatives?

Luckily, chlorine alternatives exist. Saltwater pools produce chlorine from salt through the process of electrolysis, meaning it doesn’t replace chlorine, it makes its own.

This has prompted many pool owners to convert to a salt system, for an investment of about $2,000. There are other systems one can try, such as UV and ozone systems, which use less chlorine than a standard pool, or no chlorine at all. The cost of switching a 10,000-gallon backyard pool to a chlorine-free ozone treatment could be as high as $20,000, but some systems can cost as little as $2,000.

Other alternatives include copper and silver ionization systems, which also cost about $2,000.

But don’t assume a salt system will solve all your problems. It’s much harder to get these supplies now that we’re in the midst of a swimming pool boom. The demand is very high right now.

Use Less Chlorine in Pools

Heed this advice to managing your pool during the shortage:

  • Contact your local pool provider to ask about chlorine alternatives. Ask about your options, which can range from saltwater and UV systems to mineral packs, that will eliminate algae and reduce the need for chlorine.
  • Maintain your pool. Remember that filtration and water circulation will keep your pool healthy. Do all you can to maintain your pool with or without an abundance of chlorine.
  • Shower before swimming and keep pets out of your pool. Dogs bring a lot of debris into your pool, so keep them out. In fact, letting your dog in the pool is equivalent to letting 50 people swim in that same pool. You want to reduce the amount of oils and debris that you allow in the pool, to reduce the demand on your chlorine. Always take a shower before entering the water.

For more tips or to ask about our chlorine alternatives, contact Central Jersey Pools today!


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