All the pool trades and social media have been buzzing with blogs and articles on the current chlorine shortage. Some of these articles make it look as if every pool in the U.S. is threatened to become an algae cesspool—and the service trade is due to dry up and blow away like a tumbleweed. I have news for the pool service trade to offset the gloom prophecies. The fact is that there IS NOT a shortage of chlorine. What!? Because the shortage is primarily just ONE type of chlorine and that is trichlor tablets. And here is some really good news: There is more than ONE way to chlorinate a pool and there are options besides trichlor tablets.
While there is good news, there is also some bad news. It is the ying and yang of life. The bad news is that while there may not be a short supply of the trichlor alternatives, there is going to be higher demand and more difficulty in delivery. We are seeing this in the pandemic world that we live in. We have to wait for everything—from ourAmazon packages to getting a table at the restaurant. Everything is going to take more time due to social distancing and occupancy restrictions in warehouses. This will lead to increased costs as well.
One solution that pool pros are looking at is to switch accounts to salt generators (SWG) and be done with buying chlorine. That is a good notion; however, consider the following: The same supply and demand on materials applies to salt generators. There will be high demand on the units and on replacement parts—including even the salt. There is an upfront cost that may be prohibitive to customers. Some service companies are offering discounts or deferred payment options on SWG units. That could mean losing lots of money upfront. Salt is a cool technology, but not a good fit for every pool due to corrosion issues. Also, there are
some cities that ban saltwater pools from being drained into the sewer system, such as Santa Clarita, California.
Calcium Hypochlorite (cal hypo) is another option. Based on some searching I did, it looks like cal hypo is still available and being promoted to replace trichlor. However, although the cal hypo may be available, the packaging to get it to you may not be—and that could hold up supply. If customers are switched over to cal hypo tabs, it is vitally important to communicate to them that these tabs cannot be put into the trichlor floater or feeder. (Unless they want to turn the floater or feeder into a mini-space shuttle.) The mixture of cal hypo and trichlor WILL cause an explosion and fire. Pay attention and play it safe. Cal hypo also adds calcium to the pool—8 ppm of calcium for every pound in 10,000 gallons.
One form of chlorine that there is plenty of is liquid. Sodium hypochlorite liquid is made locally from salt, water and electricity. There is no reliance on necessary offshore ingredients that can cause delays. With liquid, you are getting the freshest, purest form of chlorine available. It is one of the original sanitizers that has been used for both swimming pools and drinking water since before the 1920s. There is no cyanuric acid (CYA) or calcium left
By Terry Arko