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Survey shows interesting service usage trends

By Marcelle Dibrell

In this final special survey edition of Service Industry News, we review the general trends across the nation with respect to chemicals and maintenance equipment.  Specifically, we look at the form of chlorine used to sanitize water, including saltwater, chlorine-generated pools, as well as any specialty chemicals that might be employed.  We also access popular usage of various automatic pool cleaners, such as pressure-side, suction-side, or robotic pool cleaners. 

The results are in and show not just a few interesting trends. 

Across the country, trichlor tabs are the most common chlorination method, with liquid chlorine a close second.  It has not always been true, but relative to liquid chlorine, trichlor is slightly cheaper nationwide. 

Survey respondents reported that, on average, they pay approximately $90 for 50 pounds of trichlor tabs.  That’s $1.80 per pound.  When we consider the percentage of available chlorine, it works to $2 per pound of available chlorine.   Meanwhile, the average cost of liquid chlorine was reported to be roughly $2.23 per gallon. 

Since a gallon of chlorine is also a pound of chlorine, and that also contains a pound of available chlorine, liquid chlorine costs $2.23 per pound of available chlorine.  At the end of the day, and not counting additional chemicals, trichlor is 23 cents cheaper per pound. 

These days, the use of gas chlorine is almost non-existent.  And very few service technicians reported to using lithium hypochlorite:  none of the survey respondents from California or Florida use it.  Lithium hypochlorite is more popular in the Northeast, where 22 percent of survey respondents use it.    

This year, we asked service technicians to report on the general popularity of saltwater, chlorine-generated pools.  We learned that they are more popular than ever.  Nationwide, survey respondents reported that roughly 20 percent of the pools that are serviced are chlorine generated.

And this statistic is true for most of the specific regions poled:  the Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, as well as Florida and Southern California all reported that 20 percent or more of the pools they service are using chlorine generators.  They are slightly less popular in Northern California as well as the Northeast region of the country, both of which reported that 10 percent or less of the pools serviced use onsite chlorine generation.   

As far as specialty chemicals go, the most commonly used include algaecides, clarifiers and sequestering agents, which is no real surprise, as those technologies have been longest been on the market, and time has tested their effectiveness. 

Our subscribers have access to the complete 2013 comprehensive, nationwide survey of service pricing and usage trends. Become a subscriber today by contacting Service Industry News at 949-916-0292. It's just $12 for 24 issues or $22 for 48 issues.

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