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If you have a pool, you need to sanitize the water. Most people do that with chlorine. For the past couple of summers, chlorine has been hard to find, but that shortage appears to be easing. Chlorine prices are expected to come down as the supply goes up.
While it has become typical to blame everything on COVID-19, only part of the chlorine shortage is due to the pandemic. COVID-19 is responsible for labor shortages, distribution issues, and, in many ways, increased demand. But there is another factor that made chlorine so scarce.
The pandemic created labor shortages and supply chain issues that inhibited the production and distribution of chlorine. However, compared to the other factors, those were relatively minor concerns.
When people couldn’t travel during that first summer of the pandemic, many invested in a staycation. In other words, home swimming pool construction went up dramatically in 2020. With so many more pools, the demand for chlorine tablets skyrocketed.
While the impact that the pandemic had on chlorine was substantial, it paled compared to how Mother Nature crippled the industry. Already struggling, in August 2020, Louisiana was hit by Hurricane Laura. The storm destroyed a major chlorine manufacturing plant. While it might not seem that losing one plant should cause much of a ripple in the supply chain, a fire on the premises destroyed almost 40% of the nation’s chlorine tablet supply.
When you clean your pool, you use a skimmer to remove objects that are floating on the surface. A pool vacuum, on the other hand, picks up the debris that has settled on the bottom. Both of these pool maintenance tools methods, while essential, only clean the water. They do not sanitize it. That means the water still has algae, bacteria, microorganisms and more. Chlorine kills these viruses and makes the water safe for swimming.
There is a wide variety of swimming-related illnesses that occur when the water is not properly sanitized. These illnesses can involve diarrhea, skin infections, ear infections, eye infections and more. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a swimmer can get sick if they “swallow, have contact with, or breathe in mists or aerosols from water contaminated with germs.” The CDC also states that recreational water might contain Cryptosporidium, which can be life-threatening for people who have weakened immune systems. In short, you need to sanitize your pool water.
In the worst-case scenario, people found it difficult to even locate chlorine. In the best-case scenario, expect to pay more than three times the price of what you were paying just a couple of years ago. Before the shortage, a 50-pound bucket of chlorine tablets cost roughly $75. Now, a good price is $250.
It is impossible to guess how much chlorine you will go through in the summer. The number of swimmers, the weather, and more all affect how quickly chlorine evaporates from your pool. The biggest factors that determine how much chlorine you will need, however, are how much water is in your pool and how many days you keep your pool open during the swim season.
One 3-inch chlorine tablet can treat up to 5,000 gallons of water. Many brands claim you only need to add tablets once per week, but this is not always the case. You will need to monitor the chlorine levels in your pool to determine what your needs are. A 20,000-gallon pool may require anywhere between 50 to 100 tablets for the season. This translates to 25 to 50 pounds of tablets per season. Again, this is only a rough estimate. The size of the pool, weather, and use can have a dramatic effect on chlorine usage.
Buying more tablets than you will use in a season creates several problems. First, you need to be able to safely store the chlorine throughout the winter. Second, improperly stored chlorine will degrade much faster than its typical three- to five-year shelf life.
Doheny’s has been making chlorine tablets for over 50 years. These tablets are pre-stabilized to help prevent premature chlorine burn-off. The tablets are individually wrapped to reduce the chlorine smell from off-gassing.
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These tablets are slow-dissolving and stabilized to help prevent premature chlorine burn-off. The 3-inch tablets are individually wrapped in easy-open packages.
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The manufacturer recommends adding these long-lasting tablets just once each week. They are enriched with a stabilizer, which helps prevent premature chlorine burn-off. The tablets also contain water conditioners to help your water feel silky smooth.
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These all-in-one tablets cost a bit more than other options, but they contain several additives to help treat your water. They can help keep your water clear, prevent stains, kill algae, and prevent scale buildup, which can cause corrosion.
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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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