The summer swimming season could be hit hard by a chlorine shortage yet again, leaving residents frustrated as they look to prepare for summer fun.
After the worst chlorine shortage on record last year, many pool supply stores are still implementing quantity restrictions on customers to manage the ongoing crisis.
"It was a struggle to get chlorine last year," said Bob Jones, president at American Sale. "We sold as much as we sell in the entire summer season in two weeks last year."
Two major factors are leading to the shortage. High demand from a pandemic swimming pool boom and a major chemical plant fire in Louisiana that devastated production capacity.
"It will definitely last all through 2022, but by Jan. 2023, is when the plant is supposed to be back up and running," said Jones.
Jones says 2020 was the best year ever for pool sales and demand has remained high as more residents look to stay home for summer activities.
"We just see a lot of people investing in their homes now," said Jones.
However, with more pools comes a bigger need for chlorine, which is used to prevent and kill algae and keep swimmers safe from water borne illnesses.
Higher demand for the tablets and limited supply is also driving up costs for dealers and already financially-strapped families.
"Prices are higher, probably about 20-30% higher than they were last year," said Jones.
For example, a 50-pound bucket of tablets that cost $100 last year is now $159.99
There are alternatives available, including a mineral system, which is growing in popularity. Jones says the system uses 50% less chlorine.
"It really is a much nicer experience in the water," said Jones.
Experts are encouraging customers to shop early, but not to hoard.