For the second summer in a row, it’s going to cost more to clean pools, and pool and spa retail store owners predict that it is about to get worse.
In Gilbert, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, Cole Jasper, owner of Jasper’s Pool Supply, is currently selling a 50-pound bucket of 3-inch chlorine tabs for $198. And Jasper says that’s up from $150 last year.
Compared to between $70 to $80 a bucket — the going price of trichlor tabs for at least the previous 10 years — current chlorine prices are exceptionally high and are expected to rise more still.
By the end of summer, Jasper expects prices for that same bucket to rise to $300.
Sam Saha, owner of Pacific Pools Supplies in Las Vegas, Nevada, said the same thing. He was selling a 50-pound bucket of tabs for $120 in 2020. Today, he’s selling it for $250.
“We’re predicting a 50-pound bucket of chlorine tablets will cost as much as $300 later this year,” Saha said.
As many know, trichlor prices skyrocketed after a fire destroyed the Biolab plant in Louisiana, a main U.S. supplier of trichlor. The resulting trichlor shortage, combined with unprecedented chlorine demand, has led to soaring prices.
'The combination of those two events has resulted in an industry-wide shortage of chlorine tabs this year,' Clorox confirmed on its website. Supplies are expected to remain limited until the Biolab plant is rebuilt and reopened, which is currently expected to occur later in 2022. Meanwhile, the higher prices for chlorine tabs have created a stronger market for other forms of chlorine, including liquid chlorine, whose prices have also gone up.
“Two gallons cost about $15.99, up 30% compared to last year,” Saha said.
To lower chemical costs, Jasper’s best advice is to include select specialty chemicals in your pool cleaning regimen, which may help prolong chlorine efficacy. For example, phosphate, which encourages algae growth, can be removed from pools with a wellchosen phosphate remover. Algicides can help with existing algae. Enzymes can cut down on organic load, further preserving chlorine’s usability.
Finally, converting pools to salt, incorporating a salt-water chlorine generator, can cut down on long-term chlorine costs, although the shortterm cost – between $2-3,000 — is nothing to sneeze at.
But with supply chain troubles and increased demand for both chlorine generators as well as the salt itself, this solution may be easier said than done.