You may have heard there’s a global chlorine shortage. You also may have heard there isn’t. Or you’re like the rest of us and have heard both… so you’re not sure what to believe!
Fact is, ever since spring there have been news stories about a chlorine shortage… In fact, news came out just in time for pool opening season, worrying many pool and spa owners. So, what’s going on? Is there a shortage, and do pool owners need to worry?
Not really. This article explores the chlorine shortage we’ve been hearing about.
A LITTLE BACKSTORY FIRST
After Hurricane Laura (at the end of summer, 2020) news broke about a devastating fire at the Bio-Lab Pool and Spa Treatment Products factory. It destroyed most of the facility and stopped production. The plant is one of North America’s largest suppliers of chlorine tablets. That is a key piece of information “largest supplier of chlorine tablets” (we’ll come back to this).
Pool owners were reminded of the fire just before the start of swimming season, causing some retailers to warn their customers to stock up. Additionally, “Swimming Pool Steve” a famous pool blogger with over 26 thousand followers on Youtube reported that there was a global shortage, and warned his followers to order as much as they can, because “without the chlorine, you simply cannot maintain a safe swimmable pool”. He predicted the chlorine supply to dry up mid-season, warning pool owners that they’ll be scrambling for a new solution.
DID COVID-19 AFFECT THE SUPPLY?
A little, yes. The supply chain for many industries was affected by the pandemic. Additionally, with many families canceling their travel plans, there was a boom in the pool installation business. The combination of the two made it difficult for some pool and spa specialists to keep pool supplies in stock; not just chlorine, but pumps, heaters, vacuums, etc.
SO, LIQUID CHLORINE IS OK?
Yes, the supply of liquid chlorine was never compromised (just temporarily stalled during the supply chain slow-down). Even the supply of tablets is picking up again, though it likely won’t be back to normal until next summer.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIQUID CHLORINE AND TABLETS?
Many people believe that tablets are the solid version of liquid chlorine. This is sort of true. The biggest difference between the two is the stabilizing component used in tablets. Chlorine needs cyanuric acid to remain solid.
Both tablets and liquid chlorine do a great job keeping your pool clean and safe. Many homeowners prefer tablets because they’re convenient. However, you should know that the cyanuric acid in the tablets does affect your pool if the levels get above the ideal range of 30-60ppm. That’s the reason why many pool specialists recommend using liquid chlorine.
If you’re currently using chlorine, you can switch between liquid and tablets without disrupting anything. If you’re one of the many new pool owners that COVID-19 created and are trying to decide on a method for sanitizing, you’ll probably enjoy this read about the difference between chlorine and salt water pools.
If you are concerned about the supply of your pool’s chemicals, don’t hesitate to reach out, we’re always happy to help.