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Alternatives to Trichlor

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Alternatives to Trichlor

Typically, chlorine is the main disinfection chemical in the United States. Since last year, there has been a shortage of chlorine in the pool industry. As a result, pool owners are now looking for alternatives to chlorine. In particular, there has been a severe shortage of trichlor. Pool professionals are therefore encouraging pool owners to switch from liquid chlorine to calcium hypochlorite. Nevertheless, changing your pool disinfection chemical is not a walk in the park.

Alternatives to Trichlor

Several factors to consider when changing from trichlor to liquid chlorine

Product training and content manager at HASA Pool, Terry Arko, says that you have to know the level of cyanuric acid before making the grand switch. Trichlor increases the level of cyanuric acid in the pool. Cyanuric acid, in turn, lowers the efficiency of chlorine. So, liquid chlorine won’t be effective if you don’t drain or dilute the pool before changing your pool chemical.

Calcium hypochlorite is a perfect alternative to trichlor tablets. In particular, slow-dissolving calcium hypochlorite tablets are more effective in sanitizing the pool. The slow dissolving tablets are uniquely designed to break down slowly as they spread across the entire pool for an extended period. Thus, calcium hypochlorite provides sanitation for a long period. The main advantage of using calcium hypochlorite is that they do not contain cyanuric acid. Therefore, they won’t slow down the efficiency of chlorine or attract algae breeding grounds. Subsequently, pool owners should seriously consider replacing trichlor tablets with calcium hypochlorite tablets.

Calcium hypochlorite, trichlor tablets and liquid chlorine

Vice president of business development with Orenda Technologies, Eric Knight, also concurs with these facts about calcium hypochlorite. He says that liquid chlorine is more likely to degrade with time. Hence, it has a shorter lifespan than trichlor tablets. Knight says that storing trichlor tablets may not be a good idea. Don’t buy them if you don’t plan to use these tablets in the next few weeks. Trichlor tablets tend to lose their strength over time when stored. They usually get weaker as each day passes. Moreover, storing trichlor tablets in the sun makes them degrade faster. If you are going to store trichlor tablets, store them in a cool, aerated area.

Maintaining pool chemicals

Every pool owner should handle pool chemicals with care. This is of more importance than balancing the pool chemistry. Generally, it is not safe to place calcium hypochlorite tablets in a trichlor feeder. Doing this can lead to an explosion. Naturally, calcium hypochlorite is flammable. Therefore, it can lead to severe fires when it comes to contact with organic products. Some of these products include trichlor, rainwater, and soda pop. Be very careful when handling trichlor tablets.

All pool owners and operators need to know how to handle all pool chemicals. Note that pool chemicals are different and each incorporates a unique handling/storage procedure. Every chlorine product can produce chlorine gas, a harmful substance. Usually, the chlorine will generate chlorine gas when it comes to contact with contaminants or acids. Consequently, it would be best if you never stored chlorine together with acid. Pool professionals say chlorine should be kept in a cool, aerated area free of moisture and sunlight. The chlorine products should not come in contact with acid or any other pool chemicals. Needless to say, store all chlorine products far from your children. Otherwise, you pose a danger to their health.

Transporting chlorine products is undoubtedly a challenge

Keep in mind that you should never transport liquid chlorine in any regular bottles. A loose bottle lid can lead to the spilling of chlorine, which is dangerous to the environment and human health. Experts say it would be best to transport liquid chlorine in a secondary contaminant plastic carrying case with no openings. Also, when transporting chlorine, you should never place it near muriatic acid and other contaminants. Don’t place acid over chlorine, even if you have a tightly sealed bottle. All in all, always store dry chemicals away from liquid chemicals.

There are specific guidelines regarding the transportation of dangerous chemicals. Pool professionals report that it would be best to transport chemicals in their original packaging. Also, transporters should adhere to all regulations regarding transportation. They should also not exceed the number of chemicals required to be transported.

When it comes to pool chemical safety, pool owners should try as much as possible to dedicate themselves. Meyer recommends watching a 14-minute video that will change your life as a pool owner. If you are interested in watching this educative video, click the following link Chlorine.org/Pool-Chemical-Safety.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, every pool chemical is unique and has different safety concerns. All pool owners should familiarize themselves with these safety concerns before they use any chemicals. Doing this will help them maintain safety in their properties and pools.

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Pool News coverage brought to you by Pool Magazine's own Marcus Packer. Marcus Packer is a 20 year pool industry veteran pool builder and pool service technician. In addition to being a swimming pool professional, Marcus has been a writer and long time contributor for Newsweek Magazine's home improvement section and more recently for Florida Travel + Life. Have a story idea or tip you'd like to share with Pool Magazine? Email [email protected] your story idea.

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Cleaning and Service Equipment and Supplies

BioLab Plant Reopening Will Impact Chlorine Prices for 2023

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BioLab Plant in Westlake, LA - Reopening Will Impact Chlorine Prices for 2023

The news of BioLab’s plant burning to the ground during Hurricane Laura in 2020 had a ripple effect on chlorine prices that has lasted for the past two years. We first reported that BioLab was rebuilding the plant back in July of 2021. A recent announcement that construction is completed and in time for summer production has pool industry analysts optimistic. “We are delighted to reopen our BioLab facility in time to support the 2023 pool season,” said Michael Sload, CEO of KIK Consumer Products.

BioLab is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of dry chlorine products. An announcement that the Westlake, Louisiana facility is fully operational means that one of the driving factors for the initial spike we saw on the price of chlorine has been removed. Prices for dry chlorine products soared in 2021 due to concerns about shortages and remained high through the summer of 2022.

Understanding The Correlation Between BioLab & Price Increases

The conditions for a sudden surge in the price for chlorine stemmed partly from the fact that BioLab was out of commission. The main factor that was driving prices to explode during the past two years was largely due to the pandemic in general.

A large percentage of the population was quarantined, which meant more people than ever before, were at home and using their swimming pool. This put a much higher glut on demand than anticipated. With the pandemic shutting many plants down, and logistical delays plaguing distributors throughout most of 2021, these conditions as well as rising inflation in 2022 kept prices high through the summer.

The reopening of the BioLab facility will certainly impact the supply chain in a positive way. “BioLab will be actively supplying the pool market for the 2023 season which should provide some relief,” said plant manager Donald Brunette.

BioLab ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the reopening of the Westlake, LA facility.

Prices are predicted to begin dropping a bit in light of that fact but will certainly not sink lower than they were prior to the pandemic. As the population starts to adjust to a post-Covid world, the surge we saw for swimming pools has already begun to recalibrate to pre-pandemic levels. The only remaining catalyst for keeping chlorine prices from truly resetting back to 2020 is the cumulative rate of inflation is roughly 14.7% higher than in 2020.

While this should certainly factor into the equation, most experts agree that with this news, the chlorine shortage is finally over and a bucket of chlorine tablets should cost substantially less next summer than it has in previous years. This comes as welcome news for both consumers and pool professionals.

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Cleaning and Service Equipment and Supplies

Ultimate Water Taps Jeff Jones for Sales of Chlorine Genie

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Jeff Jones

Ultimate Water, whose flagship product is the Chlorine Genie, is pleased to announce the addition of industry veteran Jeff Jones as the new Regional Sales Manager and Buying Group Liaison for the company’s residential and commercial divisions.  Based out of Texas, Jones has been in the swimming pool industry for over 40 years spanning a broad range of roles including the VP of Sales for DEL Ozone, National Sales Manager for Letro Products, as well as work in construction management and sales for Blue Haven and Riverbend Pools.  Most recently Jones managed buying group sales for Florida Water Products. 

“We are very pleased to have Jeff join our team,” says Thomas Vessiere, National Sales Director for Ultimate Water.  “Jeff brings deep experience, industry knowledge, and strong relationships that will be especially helpful as the demand for the Chlorine Genie grows exponentially in our industry.” 

Having sold and designed pool water sanitation systems for many years, Jones is very enthusiastic about being a part of the growing success of the Chlorine Genie.  “The design and functionality of the Chlorine Genie makes it an ideal product for our industry and is especially welcome right now as builders, retailers and service professionals grapple with the most efficient way to continuously produce chlorine safely, cost effectively and immediately for their customers,” explains Jones. 

Pool Service Software

Jones will be at the AQUALive Show booth # 416 and can be reached directly at [email protected] or by calling 214-415-2510.

More information about the Chlorine Genie can be found at:

www.chlorinegenie.com

San Diego, CA

(800) 970-7616

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A Borates Shortage is Looming on The Horizon

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A Borates Shortage is Looming on The Horizon

One of the specialty chemicals being talked about a lot in light of the chlorine shortages and rising prices are borates. As strong proponents of borates, it troubles us to say that our go-to sanitzer supplement may soon be facing the same shortages and rising costs that we’ve been seeing on the trichlor side.

What The Boron Shortage Means For The Pool Industry

If you’re in the pool business you already know, borates are becoming increasingly difficult to find. What inventory is available is vastly more expensive than in previous years. We’re already knee-deep into the dog days of summer and prices for chlorine have skyrocketed well past analysts’ projections.

A lot of pool service professionals have been turning to borates as the savior during this time of inflation and rising prices. Many technicians already use borates as a buffer against upwards shifting pH. When your pH level rises above what is deemed “normal” (about 7.8), using borates achieves optimum results.

Pool service professionals have been turning to borates in a time of rising prices for sanitizers like trichlor.

Why Pool Professionals Are Turning To Borates

Bacteria can thrive in water with a high pH level. When this happens it makes chlorine less effective. Pool professionals use borates to alleviate the issue, because it works to keep pH from drifting upward. In addition, there are other positive aspects to using borates in your pool. For one, it keeps the pool clear of algae and calcium scaling. Pool equipment repair specialists will be the first ones to recommend borates. When it comes to maintaining ideal water chemistry for your pool equipment, borates does an amazing job.

For the past few years, the adoption of borates by pool pros has steadily increased season after season. The concern now is that we may have hit maximum capacity as demand has increased well beyond available inventory.

Dwindling Boron Supplies Driving Prices Higher

The global boron market shortage is driving prices higher this season. For those who’ve been thinking of switching to using borates, this definitely is something to consider. When it comes to getting trichlor at affordable rates, it already feels that pool pros are a lower priority as far as it goes to maintaining pricing structures. Now, it appears the same thing has begun happening with borates.

Although borates and boric acid are near synonymous with pools, the swimming pool industry itself is actually a lower priority in terms of its consumption of boron. The industrial glass industry is the largest consumer of boron, roughly 48%, followed by the ceramics industry (15%) and agricultural industry (15%); the cleaning industry of which the pool industry represents a fraction consumes roughly 2% of the world’s boron.

Boron is in high demand. There are a myriad of applications for it aside from pool cleaning.

You’ll find boron in everything from industrial fertilizers to high-end ceramics and solar panels. Boron also has medical applications which improve wound healing and boosts the body’s usage of estrogen, testosterone, and vitamin D. It improves magnesium absorption, reduces inflammation, increases antioxidants, and boosts brain electrical activity in both cognitive performance as well as short-term memory.

What is absolutely certain is that we (the pool industry) didn’t cause a borates shortage. Clearly, demand is higher in these other industries which are causing prices to surge. Right now the boron supply chain is very weak. Over 60% of the material comes from mines located in Turkey which is the top producer, followed by Russia, South America and the United States.

For the time being, production is gradually declining. As existing boron reserves deplete, we’re seeing demand far exceed supplies, resulting in higher prices such as $1,250 per ton, far exceeding analysts’ predictions for $739 per ton.

While the demand in the U.S. by pool professionals may be high, the top consumer of boron is China, followed by India and Japan. Boron is produced domestically only in the State of California and it appears very little of it is earmarked towards maintaining supply chains for borates.

Final Thoughts

The story isn’t all doom and gloom for pool professionals who want to switch to borates. Fortunately, folks like Natural Chemistry, Brenntag, and others are still intent on keeping inventory on the shelves so you should still be able to find their products through distribution. If they don’t have borates available, demand that they replenish their stock. This may be the only way to guarantee the pool industry remains a priority at all.

Listen to our entire discussion on the Talking Pools podcast.

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