100+ Million pounds of Chlorine, Gone...
There’s going to be a chlorine shortage this season. Hurricane Laura lead to the destruction of a major chemical supplier to the swimming pool and spa industry. This particular plant manufactured and stored chlorine. Combined with tariffs and other pressures in the industry, chlorine will be the next “toilet paper” according to some industry experts.
What this means to you
- By every estimate, chlorine will be in short supply AND more expensive.
- Prices have already risen by up to 20% on purchases made today and will likely go higher for purchases made in 2021.
- Container sizes may be limited as manufacturers will concentrate on their best sellers to reduce inventory management and ease shipping. You may not be able to get the particular type and size of product you are used to.
- Manufacturers are placing limits on purchases. No dealers will be allowed to purchase more than they did last season. YOU will be competing for supplies with all of the new pool owners from the previous year and there were tens of thousands of new pools sold due to the stay at home COVID order.
- A 25lb container of chlorine tabs will cost over $100 next season.
- The issue will remain through the 2022 season. Construction of a plant of this type requires at least two years to build and clear EPA regulations.
Chlorine Feeder Issues
Chlorine feeders like the ones below can only use one type of chlorine and that is the type that has been affected by the fire.
Switching to another version of tablet and using the feeder is dangerous and may cause the feeder to explode.
Never mix different types of chlorine and most tablets that are not designed to work in a feeder have a warning label on the container.
There is now a chlorine feeder available for non-stabilized chlorine tablets. Switching to this type of tablet is not a bad idea.
The number of pools we see each year that are “over stabilized” is huge and the non-stabilized tablets prevents this issue from occurring.
What exactly is affected?
The fire at this plant (and this is the second plant in two years to be destroyed) produced certain types of chlorine primarily used for swimming pools. The familiar “hockey puck” tablet is the most commonly used version however there are others.
Trichlor (generally tablets) and dichlor (generally powder) are the two types involved in the plant fire.
This is your standard stabilized chlorine tablet. They come in 1” and 3” sizes as well as inside cartridges like Frog or Aqua-Smarte (Watsons).
This is mostly found in a bag of shock or bottle of granules.
How do I know if my tablets are included?
If you still have a container, it will say stabilized or look at the ingredients and see if it says cyanuric anywhere. These will be the ones affected. The granules will say Sodium Dichlor (and maybe 20 more letters)
Can I switch to a different tablet?
If you have a chlorine feeder, or a King Technologies Frog or Aqua-Smarte, the short answer is NO. You cannot put a different type of chlorine in this feeder.
However, you can abandon the chlorine portion of your feeder and use different tablets in the skimmer or a floater. Don’t forget to replace the mineral cartridge as it will save on the amount of chlorine you use. That is the entire point of this type feeder and why you bought it in the first place. If you already feed the tabs through the skimmer or have a floater then yes you can switch without a problem.
Along with minerals, you should consider conditioning the water to prevent algae and reduce chlorine.
NO, this is not the conditioner AKA cyanuric acid. We are talking about Sodium Tetraborate.
This additive is proven to accomplish a few things and it works in any pool or spa regardless of how you treat it.
Google it. There are hundreds of pool pro’s that recommend it highly.
Tetraborate actually changes the way the water feels. Although the water is not really softer, (you are not removing any solids) it does feel softer and that’s what counts right?
Tetraborate makes it hard to impossible for algae to process carbon dioxide which is what plants use like the air we breath. No CO2, no algae.
Tetraborate also prevents pH drift. This is basically the same job that alkalinity performs. Technically you wont need to adjust alkalinity if the pH is correct regardless of test results.
Tetraborate makes chlorine last longer and work harder. Keeping a 50+ ppm residual in the pool can reduce the
amount of chlorine needed by 50%.
It’s a one time treatment, almost:
Borates do not evaporate or leave the water unless you remove water (like backwashing and splash out) and replace it with fresh. Topping up in the spring is all that is required.
Chlorine Reduction, Saving $$$
If you have not already begun reducing the chlorine you use, now is the time. Not only will you save money by using less chlorine, you will also save the life of your liner and equipment.
One of the simplest ways to reduce the amount of chlorine needed is to use a drop in mineral puck. A once per season product drops into your pump basket and allows you to cut the amount of chlorine needed in half.
There are a number of these items available ranging from $50-$100 depending on pool size.
The benefit of this system is that it is a strong algae preventative.
As long as your pump is running, this thing is preventing algae and reducing the amount of chlorine you need for your pool.
Make a Plan Now
Staying with Chlorine and stop using tablets
There are multiple ways to completely move away from chlorine tablets. Liquid and granular are certainly good options, however the delivery method is weak. You have to feed it into the pool manually. There are no granular feeders and liquid feeders are expensive.
Staying with Chlorine and use non stabilized tablets
Since only stabilized tablets are the problem, you can buy NST (non-stabilized tablets) but you must use a floater or put them in your skimmer. They cannot be placed in a standard chlorine feeder. An NST feeder is available for under $200.
If you would like us to install one during your pool opening we will do so with no labor charge.
Reducing the amount needed with minerals regardless of chlorine type
Reducing the amount of chlorine needed by using mineral technology is an option to seriously consider. We carry multiple versions of mineral systems but by far the easiest to use is our Natures Pure drop in solution. At between $49-$99 depending on pool size, you simply drop the cartridge into the pump basket or skimmer. It will allow you to reduce the amount of chlorine required from 1-2 ppm down to 0.5-1 ppm, a 50% reduction.
We can again install one while we are opening your pool, ship one to you with free shipping or just stop in and pick one up (after 3/1/2021).
Reducing the amount needed with Tetraborate regardless of chlorine type
Adding sodium tetraborate to your pool will as previously discussed, can cure several problems. Reduction of chemicals is just the beginning. We recommend using this product regardless of the type of chemical system you use. It will condition the water creating a softer feel and at the same time, prevent algae. We can add it to your pool when we open it or you can stop in and pick some up at any time. It’s always in stock.
Combine mineral and borate technology
For the most problem free season you’ve ever had, combine minerals and borates along with NST chlorine tablets.
The minerals and borate will prevent algae, period. NST tablets are inherently more problem free than stabilized tablets. The buildup of cyanuric acid (CYA) in stabilized tablets can create issues requiring draining water out and replacing it with fresh. NST tabs contain no CYA to build up preventing this issue.
Many customers mention to us that their pool is also visually clearer, less hazy when using NST tabs and borate.
Completely stop using Chlorine
We have had a zero chlorine system available for years called Biguanide. It is the only chlorine free system available that is CDC approved for pool treatment.
Many customers love their zero chlorine pools and typically they are more problem free than their chlorine counterparts. It has traditionally been more expensive to use but with prices going up, it is a solid alternative to consider.
To use Biguanide you simply allow the chlorine to dissipate or we can neutralize it instantly. Then just start using the system. No feeder or floater is required. Everything is liquid and you just pour in the correct dosages once per week.