The pool and spa industries have been experiencing a prolonged increase in both interest and business as COVID-19 and the lockdown have kept families closer to their homes. With kid’s summer activities cancelled, trips postponed, and gatherings put off, investing more time and money into an existing pool or having one installed is very popular. Under normal circumstances an increase in business would be welcomed, but the surge of business, along with many Covid related issues have caused industry wide problems.
Product manufacturers from pools and spas, to filter and pump whole goods, to parts, and chemicals are all still being impacted by Covid restrictions and problems. Raw materials, logistics, shortages, staffing reductions and more have all contributed to industry wide issues. One of these issues was a shortage in chlorine, or “trichlor” more specifically. This is that white powdery stuff that usually comes in tablet/hockey puck form or granulated in buckets. There are three manufacturers in the United States that had successfully lobbied the government for high tariffs on imported chlorine products shortly before the pandemic started. By the time summer 2020 was in full swing, the import supply had been completely exhausted, and the 3 American manufacturing companies were struggling to keep up with the increased demand for their products. It was at this time that a manufacturing plant fire happened putting another wrench in the gears of the industry.
In August of 2020 Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region of the United States. It struck the city of New Orleans especially hard and in the process caused a large fire at a chlorine manufacturing plant. This fire engulfed the plant and burned for several days, destroying 40% of the nation’s supply of chlorine in the process. This loss is too much for the industry to overcome in such a short amount of time going into 2021 and possibly beyond. There is going to be a shortage of chlorine for this year’s pool season.
Where Does the Chlorine Shortage Leave the Industry?
Distributors, both nationally and regionally, have less of the product and it’s most likely coming to them at much slower speeds. Distributors are being charged more for the cost of goods so this is being passed on to the retailers and eventually the end users/pool owners. Most pool stores are already on allotment meaning they are only getting so much at a time or so much overall. Many retailers have already been capped at the same amount that they purchased last year despite the increased need and interest in pools. Price increases and scarcity should continue as the summer heats up and pool use becomes more frequent.
What Does the Chlorine Shortage Mean to You?
The three biggest things are: drastic price increases, an inability to find some, or all of the products that you normally use, and a need to research and understand alternatives to chlorine. You will need to find out what may work to either reduce your dependency on “trichlor” chlorine or stop using it altogether. It’s definitely important to find something that works for you from both a health/safety standpoint but also from a cost standpoint. Doing some research into chlorine alternatives will be the way to go as the void created by the chlorine shortage is filled with effective alternatives.
What Chlorine Alternatives Are There?
Many chlorine alternatives exist in the market today. Some are designed for use without needing supplemental “trichlor” while others are designed to reduce the amount of chlorine that’s normally used. Examples include: Salt Chlorine Generators, Ozone Technology, UV Systems, Mineral Systems, Specialty Chemicals like natural enzymes, phosphate removers, algaecides, stabilizers, borates, as well as utilizing best practices to keep your pool water optimized. These practices include such things as regular water testing, brushing, and making sure you are using correct filtration.
Can Salt Systems Be Used as a Chlorine Alternative?
Choosing to go with a salt chlorine generator is a very popular means of pool sanitization. The system utilizes ordinary salt to make all of the chlorine that your pool needs. In a time when chlorine is already in short supply, the idea of not having to lug buckets from the store to your pool is very appealing to most. In addition to handling all of your sanitization needs, added benefits of using salt are many: the pool water feels softer on the skin, the water doesn’t stain bathing suits, it takes away any chance of those red irritated eyes happening as well as knocking out that well known chlorine odor. Salt treatment helps provide clean and sparkling water for everyone to enjoy.
What Salt System Would You Suggest We Use for Our Swimming Pool?
At E-Z Test Pool Supplies, we would suggest the PoolTux Salt Chlorine Generator. The system is designed for either inground pools or above ground models with up to 28,000 gallons of water. Everything you need for the setup is included in the box with no special tools needed. It quickly and really easily plugs into a 110V GFCI outlet. Read our additional blog for info on this product or visit the product page to purchase.
Our team would be happy to answer any questions about salt systems or chlorine alternatives.