How to Deal with the Chlorine Shortage
On a scorching hot summer day, there are few things as appealing as jumping into a crystal blue swimming pool to cool off! As you restock your swimming pool supplies for the season, chlorine is likely to be on your list of needs. Chlorine is needed to keep your pool protected from algae, mold, and bacteria so that you can swim safely.
More swimming pools are being built in North Texas than ever before. In addition, the majority of our area’s community pools are opening earlier in the year and closing later. A greater number of swimming pools combined with longer swimming seasons equals more chlorine consumption. The summer of 2021 saw a severe chlorine shortage and increased costs across the country. While supply issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic, labor shortages, and transportation challenges all contributed to the chlorine shortage, destruction of a large chlorine manufacturing plant also had a large impact on chlorine production in the United States. Reconstruction of the plant should be complete in late 2022 or early 2023 and should help mitigate supply problems greatly.
In the meantime, if you come across a retailer with an abundance of chlorine tablets, should you stockpile some? The answer is no. The average pool owner uses one 50-pound tub of chlorine tablets per season. If you stock up on more than that, it is entirely likely that the chlorine will degrade before you can use it all.
However, there are some steps you can take to deal with the chlorine shortage and still enjoy your pool to the fullest this year.
If we are to minimize chlorine use in our pools, it is necessary to address two factors: the living contaminant growth and reproduction and the non-living oxidant demand. A very small amount of the contaminants in your swimming pool are harmful bacteria, germs, or viruses. The percentage of these in comparison to the oxidant demand is even smaller. While a huge amount of harmful germs are not necessary in order to result in a recreational water illness, the main reason chlorine is used in our pools is to sanitize the water and keep it safe.
Algae is the most prevalent living contaminant that chlorine helps combat. Provided with a food source and favorable water conditions, algae can reproduce prolifically. When algae flourishes beyond the strength of your chlorine, you will see algae bloom in your swimming pool. Because phosphates are one of the “limiting nutrients” for algae, but controlling the phosphate level in your swimming pool, you control the algae growth. To support your chlorine’s efficiency, it is important to keep phosphate levels to a minimum, preferably under 500 ppb.
It’s important to note that by removing phosphates, you do not eliminate the need chlorine. However, if you do not remove them, the chlorine that you add will get used up faster. By planning ahead, you can be proactive and set yourself up so that you will need as little chlorine as possible for your pool, enabling you to make your supply last longer.
R-10,000 Phosphate Remover by Orenda is a very popular product used by pool service contractors. Orenda’s PR-10,000 is a highly concentrated, all natural, rare earth phosphate remover and the strongest phosphate control product available on the market. Its formula reacts with phosphates in your pool’s water, hardening them into a fine precipitate, which can then be removed from your swimming pool.
Please note that some users have reported temporary pool water cloudiness caused by PR-10,000. This typically resolves in a few hours to a couple of days. We recommending using PR-10,000 only as needed and not exceeding the specified dosage.
Only a very small percentage of oxidants in the water are composed of metals like iron, copper, and manganese. Urine, which contains urea, and cleaning products that contain ammonia, are usually a small percentage of oxidant demand in your water, too. Most of the oxidant demand is non-living organics and oils. These are substances such as body oils, sweat, saliva, and mucus, in addition to bather products like lotion, deodorant, sunscreen or tanning oils. Because chlorine is designed to kill living contaminants rather than de-grease, it is not ideal to remove bather waste substances and a great deal of it is required to do so.
Most contaminants in your swimming pool are non-living oxidants. Non-living oxidants cannot be killed, obviously, so they must be oxidized. Oxidation, which is in essence an electron transfer, is how chlorine destroys non-living contaminants:
To reduce the need for large amounts of chlorine, there are ways you can reduce the oxidants chlorine isn’t suited to eliminate. Enzymes break down non-living organics and offer a residual throughout the entire pool system. It is also possible to use a secondary oxidation system like ozone or AOP. However, their downside is these are point-of-contact without a residual.
ProTeam Supreme Plus will be an essential item on your pool supply list this year. This product helps ensure you can maintain your pool with less chlorine. ProTeam Supreme is a once-per-season application that reduces eye and skin irritation, controls algae, and improves filtration. Sanitizers work most efficiently when the pH of your swimming pool is kept in the proper range. ProTeam Supreme Plus helps maintain stable pH and buffers total alkalinity, resulting in the need for less sanitizer and less maintenance.
We’ll all be coping with the chlorine shortage this summer. By utilizing great products like R-10,000 Phosphate Remover and ProTeam Supreme Plus, we can optimize our chlorine efficiency and combat contaminants in a better, more proactive way. If you have any questions about how to use these products, please call or stop by 1Stop Pool. Our knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you get ready for the summer of 2022!