Masks may be coming off, and shots may be getting in arms, but we’re still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on manufacturing and shipping. Along with things like appliances and lumber, there’s also a shortage of chlorine tablets for swimming pools. Here’s why that happened, and what you can use instead of the hard-to-get tablets.
Why is there a chlorine shortage in 2021?
So, how did that happen? As you may recall, 2020 was huge for at-home pools. In fact, there was a 23% increase in the number built in the United States compared to 2019, according to data from Goldman Sachs. In other words, there are a lot of pools up-and-running in 2021.
On top of that, one of the casualties of Hurricane Laura—which hit the coast of Louisiana in August 2020—was the Bio-Lab plant. The manufacturing facility produces most of the chlorine tablets used in the U.S., and it sustained significant damage in a fire resulting from the hurricane. According to Savannah Sher in an article on to BobVila.com: “Bio-Lab plant isn’t scheduled to recommence production until 2022, so the industry should expect to be off-kilter until then.”
What can you use in your pool instead of chlorine tablets?
With the 2021 pool season well underway, and the 2022 chlorine forecast not looking particularly promising, you may be looking for an alternative to the traditional tablets to keep your pool as clean and sanitary as possible. Your best bet, Sher says, is to use liquid chlorine instead.
First, the downsides—starting with the fact that you’ll need a lot of it. Specifically, one gallon of liquid chlorine is equivalent to two chlorine tablets. There’s also a chance that liquid chlorine might affect your pool’s pH levels, so Sher stresses that it’s important to monitor the levels throughout the swimming season.
And as tempting as it might be to stock up on all the liquid chlorine you’d need for the season (or into next season), that’s not a great idea because it has a short shelf life, and starts losing its potency after a few weeks, Sher explains. To help keep it fresher longer, she recommends storing liquid chlorine in a cool spot.
But liquid chlorine isn’t without its advantages—starting with the fact that it’s relatively easy to use. “You don’t have to mix the formula with anything and can simply pour it into the pool as needed,” Sher says. Plus, it’s actually available.