CHICAGO - As the weather warms up, you may be getting your pool ready for the summer or may be even thinking about buying one.
With many of us still working from home, one local store says the demand for an above ground pool is up about 60 percent.
In a FOX 32 Special Report, we find out what you need to know about keeping your pool clean before diving into summer.
Chris Friis is getting his pool ready for the summer.
"We’ve had the pool for over 10 years. This is actually the first pool we had. So far, it’s great. We love it," Friis said.
For the most part, he knows how take care of his pool and what to expect when it comes to maintenance.
Until last year. That’s when he got some serious sticker shock.
"Yes, compared to when we first got it. The chlorine was kind of a nonevent," Friis said. "The last two years, the prices have gone up dramatically."
So just how much does it cost now to keep the average size pool clean using chlorine?
"In the past, maybe it would cost $150-160 dollars a summer. But now it’s running more like $250-300 dollars a summer," said Bob Jones.
Jones is the president of American Sale. While he says we are still in for a chlorine shortage this year, he thinks it won’t be as bad as last year.
"I would say the shortage is expected to end next summer when that plant comes back," Jones said. "That’s when we’ll see things kind of get back to normal."
In addition to Hurricane Laura knocking out a chlorine manufacturing plant in Louisiana two years ago, Jones says there are a few other factors contributing to the shortage.
"Just a high demand for chlorine right now because of Covid … and all the sanitation products that are being made for sanitation," Jones said. "I think the third thing really is the extra demand for swimming pools … that we’ve seen over the last couple of years … there’s a lot more swimming pools in the market place and therefore the need for chlorine."
He also says don’t forget to add inflation to the rising cost of chlorine.
"If you happen to go into a retail store and the chlorine is not on the shelf, they are going to have alternative solutions for you to maintain your pool," said Sabeena Hickman.
Hickman is the president of the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance. Its mission is to promote safe and healthy water quality when using either a pool or spa.
"Bleach sort of pinch-hitted for us last year with chlorine," Hickman said. "Again, it’s not straight bleach. It’s a mixture, a combination that they use to treat the pools."
In addition to bleach, Hickman says there are other chemicals you can use in place of chlorine to keep your pool clean — like calcium hypo-chlorite or bromine, which can also be found at a pool supply store.
However, you should consult a professional before using them on your own.
"I have a hot tub and my retail professional is like my best friend — if there's any formulations that need to be checked if you do it yourself," Hickman said.
Friis checked with his pool supply store and has opted to use "The Frog" water care system to keep his pool ready to go.
It uses approximately 50 percent less chlorine and a combination of minerals.
"Pretty much every day it's getting used, and what is it? Twice on Sunday," Friis said.
Here are some other tips on how to keep your pool, or hot tub water safe and use less chlorine.
- Run the filter daily for eight hours
- Test the water frequently to make sure it is balanced
- Don’t use your pool as a bath tub
What that means is be sure you shower before jumping in the pool and don’t let your pets jump in, too.