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The Chlorine Shortage Isn’t Over – Alternatives You Should Consider

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The Chlorine Shortage Isn’t Over - Alternatives You Should Consider

The pool industry has been facing a chlorine shortage since last year. As a result, pool experts are doing their best to deal with this surge in demand. The sudden chlorine shortage resulted from the fire that occurred in the production facility in Louisiana. Luckily, there are other alternatives you can use in place of chlorine. Some of them include calcium hypochlorite and liquid chlorine. Saltwater systems are also a safer alternative to chlorine. Therefore, pool professionals are trying to encourage homeowners to use other sanitation systems.

The Chlorine Shortage Isn’t Over - Alternatives You Should

At present, a good percentage of pool owners are trying to identify ways of using less chlorine. Keep in mind that chlorine sometimes poses a danger to your health. It causes skin and eye irritation when in excessive amounts in the pool. So, it is essential to use little amounts of chlorine. Alternatively, use other disinfection agents that are less abrasive.

The different types of pool sanitation systems

Typically, there are no products that serve as a total replacement for chlorine. Nevertheless, pool experts have invented different systems that provide efficient sanitation for the pool. Some of these systems include Ozone and UV systems. Each pool system is unique and offers exceptional benefits. Therefore, your needs often determine the best pool system option for you.

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UV pool systems

Ultraviolet sanitation systems can also help you reduce chlorine usage in the pool. These systems destroy all harmful microorganisms in the pool using ultraviolet light. Usually, water flowing past the UV system is exposed to UV light. The light destroys the genetic composition of microorganisms present in the pool water. Therefore, UV systems deactivate all the microbes in the water and prevent them from reproducing. The longer you expose the water to UV light, the more sanitation you receive. Installing a UV system in your pool, therefore, helps you reduce chlorine usage. In addition, Ultraviolet sanitation systems can work with different chemicals like bromine and chlorine. Pool experts, therefore, consider pool sanitation systems safe and effective.

Ozone pool system

How does an ozone pool system work? These systems foster the formation of a strong oxidizer, O3, by breaking down oxygen molecules into two. The single broken-down molecules then attach themselves to other O2 molecules to form O3. The presence of O3 in the pool water can help you reduce chlorine usage by approximately 70%.

AOP pool systems

AOP pool systems often generate hydroxyl radicals which act as strong oxidizers. These systems use both UV and Ozone technologies to provide maximum sanitation for the pool. When water flows through the AOP system, it gets exposed to UV light. Also, the AOP system starts creating O3 to provide disinfection to the pool water. Thus, this pool system helps you lower chlorine usage in the pool.

Using minerals to sanitize your swimming pool

Did you know you can use minerals to keep your water free from harmful microorganisms and pathogens? Pool professionals report that mineral sanitizers provide adequate disinfection. They destroy all microbes in the pool. Hence, they help you reduce chlorine usage in the pool. Some pool systems contain minerals like copper and silver. Copper usually acts as an excellent algaecide, while silver oxide kills all microorganisms in the water. You can use minerals with saltwater systems. Doing this helps you minimize the usage of chlorine chemicals.

Pool maintenance reduces the need for chlorine

Other than using different pool sanitation systems, it would be best to implement other ways to reduce chlorine usage. One of the most common ways to do this is to keep the pool in good condition. You have to ensure that your pool has balanced water chemistry if you want to use less chlorine. Therefore, it is essential to check the pool pH and calcium hardness levels and adjust them accordingly. As a pool owner, ensure you conduct a pool shock from time to time; it would be best to use non-chlorine products for this. Adding preventative algaecides in your pool also lowers chlorine usage.

Using other pool sanitation systems helps you deal with chlorine shortage

The shortage of chlorine forced most pool owners to turn to other alternatives. Fortunately, pool owners are positively embracing other pool sanitation systems. However, there need to be more training programs to educate pool owners on the importance of using non-chlorine pool systems. This way, it will be much easier for pool experts to deal with the shortage of chlorine.

Moreover, every pool owner is trying to lower chlorine usage in their pools. One of the best ways to do this is practicing proper pool maintenance. Pools in good condition don’t demand a lot of chlorine. Ultimately, everyone in the pool industry should take up the responsibility of dealing with the chlorine shortage.

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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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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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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. 

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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