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Maintaining pools could get pricier this summer due to chlorine shortage

Chlorine tablets.PNG
Posted at 5:25 PM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 11:16:08-04

CHANDLER, AZ — Maintaining your pool this summer may cost you more due to a nationwide chlorine tablet shortage.

"If they are using chlorine as their sanitizing regime, then yes they will be impacted," said Brett Galusha, the owner of Serenity Pool Pros, which serves more than 200 homes in the East Valley.

A 2019 study conducted by Phoenix, Gilbert and Chandler showed only about 1/3 of single-family homes have pools.

But there are public pools, apartment pools and resorts, and experts say that number went up in 2020 when demand for pools and pool supplies skyrocketed during the pandemic.

"We were getting a lot more calls for upgrades, repair work, maintenance, etc," said Galusha.

In August, a fire at a plant in Louisiana that makes pool treatment products destroyed much of the supply and halted production. The disruption in the supply chain and increase in demand has led to price increases.

"They've gone up roughly about 100%, so doubled in price," said Galusha.

Some retailers--like A & M Corson's--are limiting how many tablets customers can buy.

"We started doing just one per customer. We even had to tell our contractors who normally get a better price--the pool guys--the price of the customers, because we have to pay a lot," said Garrett Rickert, an associate at A&M Corson's.

That price increase is getting passed down to customers, which means many families with pools may already be paying more to keep their pools safe.

Chlorine is used to prevent and kill algae. More importantly, it helps protect swimmers from waterborne illnesses.

"A sanitizer. It kills and eliminates bacteria in your pool," said Galusha.

Galusha said there are alternatives.

"Some of those would be a phosphate treatment to eliminate the food source for the algae, one of them would be minerals to keep algae at bay," he said.

A saltwater pool would make its own chlorine, but it can be expensive.

"You'd have to add salt to your pool in order to get a certain baseline for the salt chlorinator to work, you'd also have to install salt chlorinator and controller to your pool," said Galusha.

A spokesperson from Leslie's Pool Supplies told ABC15 while the chlorine market is seeing higher demand and decreased supply, their stores haven't experienced a shortage in the chlorine section.

The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance recommends the following:

If 3-inch chlorine tabs are unavailable or in short supply:

  1. Switch to liquid chlorine, calcium hypochlorite, or dichlor. Make sure to keep these products in their original container and store them as indicated on the label.
  2. Don’t use your pool as a bathtub. Shower before swimming and keep your pets out of the pool.
  3. Shock the pool only when the combined chlorine levels are above 0.4 ppm and use either liquid chlorine, calcium hypochlorite, or a monopersulfate product to shock the pool.
  4. Run the pool filter daily.
  5. Test the water frequently and keep the water balanced.

If other chlorine products are in short supply:

  1. Don’t use your pool as a bathtub. Shower before swimming and keep your pets out of the pool.
  2. Run the pool filter daily.
  3. Test the water frequently and keep the water balanced.
  4. Use a monopersulfate product rather than liquid chlorine or calcium hypochlorite to shock the pool.
  5. Install a UV or ozone system.
  6. Convert to a salt pool system.
  7. Install a mineral system. Please note, this may increase pool surface stains

Other companies may offer additional alternatives, so please be sure to discuss your options with your pool service company.