The shortage started last August, when a fire sparked by Hurricane Laura destroyed the Louisiana chemical plant that makes most of the country's chlorine tablets. The pandemic-fueled increase in backyard pools has exacerbated the situation by spiking demand.
The factors of COVID-19 isolation, an increased demand for backyard pools and the Louisiana fire have combined to create the worst chlorine shortage the country has ever seen.
The shortage is due to increased demand for pool supplies during the pandemic and a chemical fire at a BioLab facility in Louisiana after Hurricane Laura that knocked out one of the country's three main chlorine manufacturers.
Between the pandemic and a catastrophic fire, the U.S. is currently experiencing a major shortage of chlorine tablets. But it doesn't have to end your summer swimming fun. The COVID-19 pandemic caused waves in the world of shipping and manufacturing, leading to shortages of appliances, lumber, electronics, and more.
The consistent inability to maintain chlorine levels is also called “chlorine demand” and is most often caused by a high level of inorganic and organic contaminants in the water. Those contaminants force the chlorine to work extremely hard to oxidize them, leaving little chlorine to protect swimmers.
If your total chlorine level is high, you will use a non-chlorine shock; if it is low, you will use a chlorinated shock. As a rule, you will need to raise free chlorine to 10 times your combined chlorine to hit what is known as “break point.” Therefore, it is good to deal with combined chlorine while it is still small.
Raising pool chlorine can be much easier than trying to lower chlorine levels. Simply adding chlorine in the form of chlorine tablets, granular chlorine, liquid shock or powder shock will increase the total amount of chlorine within the pool.
Rising Costs of Chlorine in 2022
Between high demand and material availability, we have seen multiple price increases across every channel in our industry. Does this mean that the cost of chlorine is going to keep rising? Unfortunately, yes. We expect chlorine costs to continue to rise next year.
Chlorine Shortage 2022: The Nation's Chlorine Supply Takes Yet Another Potential Hit. *Update: Fortunately, it does not appear that this factory fire has resulted in any major chlorine loss and will not contribute to the expected ongoing chlorine shortage in 2022.
Still, no one is predicting a salt shortage this summer, and saltwater pools make their own chlorine via a chemical reaction. These pools work by salting the water and then using a generator to turn the salt into chlorine at a very slow rate.
Chlorine is a sanitizer, and (unless you use Baquacil products) is necessary for maintaining a clear and healthy pool. Shock is chlorine, in a high dose, meant to shock your pool and raise the chlorine level quickly.
Even liquid chlorine storage containers are in tight supply. This isn't a new phenomenon. Of course, there's a rise and fall; a give-and-take to supply and demand that occurs within basic economics.
Once COVID hit, everybody wanted a pool.” Healy said the combination of lower supply and increased demand has hit the pool industry hard. Many pool stores have not been able to get any chlorine from suppliers. However, Healy said Splash Pool Supply is still stocked with chlorine products — they're just more expensive.
The new facility will replace the old manufacturing plant and restore the jobs that were lost resulting from its destruction. It is expected to be completed in 2022.
That boom, experts say, created even more demand for chlorine. Then a manufacturing facility of one of the country's major suppliers of chlorine tablets, BioLab, burned down last August, right after Hurricane Laura. The plant, located near Lake Charles, Louisiana, expects to resume operations by spring 2022.
When you're shocking a pool, the goal is to raise the free chlorine level of the pool water to roughly 10 times the combined chlorine level.
Instead of adding chlorine to sanitize a saltwater pool, you add salt, and then a chlorine generator converts it to chlorine. When the free chlorine level is low, that usually means it's time to add more salt, but it may mean a couple of other things as well.
Using liquid chlorine raises the pH of the water.
Liquid chlorine does not raise pH. When added to water, liquid chlorine (which has a pH of 13) makes HOCl (hypochlorous acid – the killing form of chlorine) and NaOH (sodium hydroxide), which raises pH.
Dichlor is perhaps the most “best of all worlds” chlorine sanitizer. It is typically found in concentrations of 60-65%, which is comparable to cal-hypo. It is a powder sanitizer, which makes it easier to spread or broadcast around the pool than chlorine tablets.
What can happen if you go into a pool too soon after it's been shocked? There are a few potential issues. "Chlorine will react with water to produce an acid," Alan says. "The effects will be different depending on whether chlorine is inhaled or whether there is skin or eye contact."
You can also simply add more chlorine, and pouring household bleach into the pool is one way to do this. Be sure the pH is in the proper range -- between 7.2 and 7.8 -- and add the bleach in the early evening to avoid having most of it degraded by sunlight.
The RC-35/22 Cell – Maximum recommended residential pool size is 35,000 gallons. Produces 200 lbs. of pure gas chlorine at the average cell price of $382.99. Produces 200 gallons of liquid chlorine at the average price of $2.25 per gallon = $450.00.
Chlorine gas smells bad, but it's cleaning power is totally rad. Chlorine I can smell and taste pretty mean but I promise to keep your water clean! Chlorine is a terrible gas, but it will help you pass your science class. Chlorine is Chlorine.