“Poolmaggedon,” the chlorine shortage, is in full force. Finding Trichlor tablets, the most common chlorine for residential pools, is a battle.
Pool owners have options; they need to know the pros and cons to make good decisions on how to ensure their water is properly sanitized.
Alternatives to survive the chlorine shortage include generating chlorine from a device or reducing chlorine use with minerals. The silver lining? Some may be happier with alternatives in the long run.
Saltwater pools are popular, but the system is expensive to purchase at $800 – $2,500 plus installation costs – if it’s in stock. Plus, salt cells need to be replaced every 3 – 5 years at $600 – $900.
Salt is inexpensive, but saltwater corrodes pool surfaces, equipment, patio furniture and landscaping. The system requires more electricity, and specialists for repairs.
Because salt cells make chlorine, pool owners no longer need to buy chlorine.
Many articles claim that saltwater pools use less chlorine, yet, recommended chlorine levels in a saltwater pool are the same as a typical chlorine pool, 1 – 3 ppm.
Minerals fight bacteria and algae, reducing the chlorine needed to keep pool water clean up to 50% – the ideal chlorine level is 0.5 to 1.0 ppm.
However, minerals must be used with another sanitizer – usually chlorine – to fully sanitize pool water.
Some brands sell systems with prefilled cartridges, which eliminates the search for chlorine.
FROG is one brand that offers complete mineral and chlorine systems as well as products with only minerals.
Minerals and/or mineral systems range in price from $32.00 – $350, a significant savings from a salt system or ionizer.
Significant benefits include softer water that’s more comfortable on skin and hair, less swimsuit fade, and protection for pool surfaces.
Ionizers are similar to minerals. The main difference is that ionizers use electricity to produce mineral ions that sanitize pool water.
Similarly, ionizers reduce chlorine use to 0.5 to 1.0 ppm, but, pool owners must maintain that chlorine level by installing a chlorinator or using a floater, which means they need to find a source of chlorine.
Ionizers may stain pool surfaces if set too high and water balance is off and the system must be installed. Cost ranges from $600 – $2,500. In this unprecedented time of chlorine shortages, it’s good to know the options.