For pool owners, this is the best time of the year. The weather is warmer, the sun is brighter, and the pool season is just around the corner. All good, right?
Well, not so fast. Because the work doesn’t end when we open up our pools for the summer and drop our first cannonball. We’ll also need to keep the water beautiful and safe all swim season long. And while we might be excited to pull on our swimsuits, the future is still pretty uncertain when it comes to chlorine supply.
Thankfully, you can beat the shortage by understanding why it was caused, optimizing your existing chlorine levels, and upgrading your sanitizing system. Soon, your wallet and your pool will thank you—this year, and for all those to come.
What’s the Deal with the Chlorine Shortage?
If you’ve already started to prepare for the swim season, you might’ve gone to your usual chlorine source just to do a double take. Your favorite, most reliable brand is suddenly out of stock, huh? And the other options you see are way, way more expensive than you remember? How is that possible?
Chlorine Affected by the Shortage: Trichlor, Dichlor, and More
The chlorine shortage especially affects chlorine types trichlor, which comes in the form of a tablet, and dichlor, which comes in the form of granules. But even other types of chlorine like liquid chlorine has been affected by the shortage, since they’re in higher demand than ever.
What Caused the Chlorine Shortage?
Why is there a shortage in the first place? Well, it includes one natural disaster and one global disease.
The Great 2020 Louisiana Factory Fire
You just can’t make this stuff up.
The pandemic might’ve been on everyone’s mind last year, but that didn’t mean other disasters were on pause. At least, that’s what residents of the Lake Charles region of Louisiana learned when Hurricaine Laura hit on August 27, 2020.
The hurricaine brought on high winds, fallen power lines, and other destructions—including damage to a massive BioLab plant called KIK Custom Products, which is responsible for producing chlorine and other pool sanitation products. At the time of the hurricaine, it housed about 835 tons of product. To give you an idea of scale, that’s about the weight of five Statues of Liberty.
In other words—that’s a lot of chlorine.
The damage to the KIK Custom Products plant caused a fire that burned for three days, causing trichlor and dichlor chlorine to ignite and release toxic fumes. Local authorities directed residents to stay indoors, close their windows, and turn off their air conditioning units in order to shut out the harmful air. Thankfully, the Lousiana Department of Environmental Quality took swift action and no locals were harmed.
The chlorine supply, on the other hand, was toast.
The COVID-19 Pandemic… Didn’t Help
The factory fire of 2020 wasn’t the first of its kind (and probably won’t be the last, either). But usually other countries can make up for supply losses of these kinds. In fact, just before the pandemic changed all of our lives, China was set to lead global chlorine capacity growth by 2024.
Unfortunately, the pandemic halted what was once a quickly-adjusting global trade market. The result? A shortage that is more extreme than it likely would have been during earlier, pandemic-free times.
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Sanitizer is an Issue of Safety. Especially Now.
Healthy swimming has always depended on proper sanitation. That’s why responsible pool owners prioritize keeping their chlorine levels steady—despite the amount of work required in the process.
Now that there’s a chlorine shortage, it’s time to take a step back and question the way we sanitize our pools.
But the sanitation itself? It’s got to happen, no matter how you look at it. Here’s why.
Why Your Pool Needs Sanitizer. Always.
Hey, I get it. Chlorine is hard to find, and when it is available it’s set at ridiculous prices. Any pool owner would wonder if they need a sanitizer at all. Some might’ve even tried it—and soon realized their mistake.
See, every pool absolutely needs to be sanitized. Without proper sanitation, you can expect your water to become a cesspool of bacteria, harm your pool walls and equipment, be uncomfortable or painful to swim in, and become a breeding ground for algae.
Unless you’re trying to turn your pool into a smelly, toxic marsh, you’re going to need to sanitize it frequently. Otherwise, it’s not inviting or healthy to swimmers.
This is a basic of pool maintenance. And unfortunately, there’s no way around it.
Sanitizer and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Sanitizer is always an issue of safety. But now we’ve entered a moment of history when safety is on everyone’s mind even more than before.
Sure, the CDC so far hasn’t seen any evidence that COVID-19 is a waterborne illness. But even so, it’s especially important now to stay healthy from all the other illnesses that have been proven to trasmit in the water.
Nobody wants to somehow contract COVID-19 when they’re already sick with something else. That’s scary stuff.
If You’re Reading This, You’ve Been Wasting Chlorine.
It gives me no joy to have to tell you this. But if you’re like most other pool owners, you’ve been wasting chlorine left and right.
The truth is that chlorine is being widely overused. It’s not about adding buckets of chemicals to your pool every week. It’s about maintaining the right levels—and if you create the right environment in your pool, your chlorine should be stable enough that you rarely have to actually throw it in.
Is this blowing your mind yet? Here are the actual benefits to creating a more stable environment for chlorine in your pool.
Cut Your Chlorine Costs by 80%
You don’t have to be a math whiz to get this one. If your chlorine levels are able to stay stable for longer, you’re not going to have any need to be constantly stocking up on this expensive chemical—especially now that high demand is driving wildly inflated price hikes.
And in addition to saving money, you’re saving yourself the labor of routinely adding chlorine to your water.
One less weekly thing to do to maintain your pool? I’d take it.
Prevent Expensive Algae Infestations
If you’ve already experienced an algae infestation, I don’t have to tell you that it’s no walk in the park.
It’s more like an expensive, labor-intensive, and frustrating walk in a green swamp. Without socks on.
Take it from me: seize every chance to prevent algae infestations. Once microscopic algae spores bloom, they will single-handedly destroy your chemical balance, exhaust your chlorine, cling to your pool walls with all they’ve got, and damage expensive equipment like your pool pump and filter.
Personally, I haven’t gotten another algae infestation since trying this next chlorine-saving secret. And I don’t miss them.
Uh oh. You’ve had an algae problem before? Use the BLACK+DECKER 360-Degree Bristles Pool Brush every week to keep microspores from attaching to your pool walls and floors. It was developed by longtime pool maintenance experts to prevent aches and pains associated with getting hard-to-reach corners.
The Secret to Saving Cash During the Shortage—And Always? Ionizing.
So how exactly can you cut down the cost of chlorine by 80%, prevent algae, and kill nasty and harmful bacteria? Well, it involves an electric device called a pool ionizer, and it’s often used by pool owners who want to use less harsh chemicals in their pool water.
In addition to significantly cutting down your need for chlorine, it also ensures softer and more comfortable water, reduced wear and tear on your pool equipment, and a more nontoxic swimming environment. Pretty great, right?
How a Pool Ionizer Actually Works
So how does an ionizer work? It can get pretty scientific, to be honest with you.
Instead of chlorine or bromine, it primarily uses silver, which has been observed as a bacteria killer since Ancient Rome, and copper, which is often the main active ingredient in algaecides.
Using a low-voltage current to energize these elements and activate their sanitizing properties, the electrical ionizing device treats water just before it circulates back into the pool. These silver and copper electrodes are thus introduced into the pool and ready to erode the organic cell walls of potentially harmful bacteria floating around.
And since these electrodes are doing the heavy lifting, whatever chlorine you have in your water will, you know, actually last.
No Need to Hack the Science to Save
Still with me? Great.
Not following? That’s okay.
Thankfully, ensuring that an ionizer works in your pool is as simple as nailing installation. Once that’s done, the device works on its own to make your pool both swimmable and enjoyable—no supervision necessary.
Note: When using an ionizer, the recommended chlorine levels are .5 to 1 parts per million (ppm). That’s really, really low! I’d also advise that you shock your pool once a week—which all pool owners should be doing, whether they have an ionizer or not.
The Best Pool Ionizers On the Market
The news just keeps getting better. When it comes to these devices, you’ve got a few efficient, reliable, and cost-effective options.
Remember when I said you’d want to nail installation? Couldn’t be easier than with this device.
After choosing the right Chlor NoMore device for you, all you have to do is set it in your skimmer basket. Just replace it every six months or so—which is the perfect timeframe for the swim season.
Although some people use Chlor NoMore entirely alone, we recommend using some chlorine to maintain a level of .5 to 1 ppm. But again, you’ll be using 80% less than you would without an ionizer.
And your pool water? Not only will it be safe, but it’s going to feel better than ever.
Note: Chlor NoMore comes in options for pools up to 10,000, 15,000, and 20,000 gallons, so you’ll want to make sure you calculate your pool size if you haven’t already.
Blue Works Solar Ionizer
So we’re talking about alternatives to chlorine. Now combine that with alternative energy, and you’ve got the Blue Works Solar Ionizer. By utilizing the power of the sun, this device can sanitize mid-sized pools up to 32,000 gallons—all while requiring no batteries and cutting energy costs.
And installation? It couldn’t be more simple. Just drop it into your pool and let it do its job. It doesn’t get lower maintenance than this.
Main Access Power Ionizer
Looking for a longer-term solution? Have a larger pool, up to 40,000 gallons? The Main Access Power Ionizer is a more heavy-duty, permanent approach with a replaceable ionizer chamber. It also gives pool owners maximum control with a easy-to-use dial for setting the ideal natural mineral levels. It also distributes a minimal amount of salt to kickstart the sanitizing process and allow the natural minerals to take over.
One popular way to use the Main Access Power Ionizer is to use no chlorine, but shock the pool once a week. Again, I recommend using a minimal amount of chlorine, but the choice is yours.
You’re Back in Business!
Whew, that was a close one. The chlorine shortage might not have been the news we were hoping for this year, but everything is workable.
Now, even more pool owners are realizing that they use too much chlorine and are switching over to ionizing systems. Here’s to hoping for a better future of pool ownership: one that’s more sustainable, cost-effective, and low-maintenance. It’s about to go… swimmingly. Enjoy.