We typically use chlorine to disinfect pool water. It prevents algae growth and eliminates most disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, while already essential for pool sanitation, the demand for chlorine products has skyrocketed since the pandemic started and eventually resulted in shortages.Back in 2019, a 45kg Hi-Chlon or Ni-chlon chlorine drum retails between 5,500 to 8,500php, depending on the retail store. In 2022, prices have already reached the range of 10,000-20,000php for the same products. Even the prices of chlorine from China and India have almost doubled.
Demand VS Supply
The COVID-19 situation made us stay at home as much as possible in order to keep ourselves safe. We are also forced to cancel our travel plans which led to pool owners spending more time swimming to enjoy a refreshing respite from the heat. Now that we spend more time in our homes, we often look for ways to kill time. Of course, if you have a pool at home it’s natural to go swimming frequently. In fact, the interest in pools has gone up this pandemic. There are actually a lot more people renovating homes, adding in pools. So there are more pool owners now than before. Since there aren’t a lot of companies that make pool chlorine tablets and granular chlorine, it leads to an increasingly short supply of pool chlorine.
Since there is high demand but a short supply of chlorine products, price has gone up tremendously. Before the pandemic, you can avail chlorine in pool supply stores, home improvement outlets, and from online sites at reasonable prices. Now that it’s in short supply, you have to pay more than you’re used to.
The BioLab accident
Aside from supply shortage due to increased demand, another reason why pool chlorine became expensive nowadays is due to the accident that occurred at The BioLab chlorine plant. The chlorine plant in Westlake, L.A, which was owned by KIK, one of the largest chlorine manufacturers in the U.S, was destroyed by Hurricane Laura and also burned down by a fire for nearly three days in August 2020.
The KIK Consumer Products spent $170 million to build a new chlorine products facility. This accident put a huge dent in the production of chlorine tablets. The remaining chlorine manufacturers cannot keep up with the current chlorine demand and that leads to an almost 50% rise in chlorine prices.
Just January this year, a massive fire broke out in a three-story building in New Jersey. The building was vacant but it’s being used to store plastics, pallets and chlorine. The fire was contained but the building collapsed.
Accidents like these cause a chlorine shortage in the Philippines. When there’s a shortage of chlorine supply in the USA, and demand there is still increasing, the USA is importing more from other countries like China and Japan, causing a shortage worldwide.
Prolong the life of your existing pool chlorine
Since there’s a shortage of chlorine, we should learn to conserve our supply. Cyanuric Acid (CYA) helps chlorine last longer. It is known as a chlorine stabilizer or pool conditioner as it stabilizes the chlorine in your pool. Without this chemical, your chlorine will quickly break down under the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Sunlight can wipe out the chlorine in your pool by up to 75-90% in just 2 hours. Cyanuric Acid shields chlorine against sunlight so it won’t be gone quickly and you won’t need to add chlorine frequently.
Given the shortage and price spikes, what can you do? It may be time to invest in better sanitizers such as salt chlorine generators, UV sterilizers and Ozone generators, reducing our dependence on chlorine. These solutions reduce chlorine requirements while also killing microorganisms such as giardia and cryptosporidium that chlorine alone cannot handle. Since chlorine is harmful to your eyes, skin and hair, these newer sanitizers also reduce allergy issues.
Salt Chlorine Generators
Pentair PNR-Chlor and Maytronics EcoSwim salt chlorine generators use electrolysis to convert salt to chlorine. Instead of using standard granular chlorine, you add inexpensive salt to your pool water instead, and use the chlorine generators to produce your needed chlorine. Make sure the salt you use is solar or pool salt, not the iodized type.
Maytronics Ozone Swim uses ozone to oxidize passing water, eliminating microorganisms. This will also reduce your chlorine requirements by at least 50%. Another side benefit of ozone is that it gives you the clearest pool water. You can swim safely with less allergy issues.
Ozone Swim Fusion comes bundled with a salt chlorine generator, so you don’t need to stock on chlorine any more.
Bio-UV UV pool sanitizers emit UV light that kills microorganisms and eliminate chloramines, the pungent smell we usually associate with chlorine. UV sanitizers act as a secondary sanitizer, meaning you will still need chlorine, but it will be reduced to 50% or more.
Bio-UV O’Clear is a more advanced sanitation system. It combines a UV sterilizer, salt-chlorine generator, and a pH dosing system to completely maintain your pool pH level and chlorine chemistry.
As a pool owner, you want to treat your pool to make sure it’s safe to swim in. You achieve that without relying too much on chlorine. The mentioned alternatives to chlorine for pools are at first more expensive. Nevertheless, over time, you will be enjoying healthier, worry-free swims.