Should You Expect a Chlorine Shortage for 2023?

Close up on a pool owner's hand placing a chlorine tablet into a floating chlorine receptacle. With the rise of alternative sanitation products, the chlorine shortage has diminished.

Pool owners, not to mention the public in general, are craving a sign that 2023 will provide some measure of relief from the chaos of the past three years. Today at Swimline, we can issue some good news: we’re far less likely to see another chlorine shortage.

Now, don’t treat that news as an invitation to throw caution to the wind and stock up on all the chlorine you can get your hands on. Responsible consumption habits are still required to make sure everyone enjoys a healthy swim environment in the new year. However, you should feel no shame in celebrating the fact that human ingenuity and resourcefulness led to a variety of solutions that will help keep chlorine accessible in 2023.

What Caused the Chlorine Shortage?

The chlorine shortage was what many pool industry experts called a “perfect storm” of supply and demand. When the quarantine phase of the pandemic hit, people were anxious to make life at home more enjoyable. As a result, the demand for pools and pool supplies (i.e., chlorine) grew off the charts. 

As if the skyrocketing demand wasn’t enough, the situation was further complicated when a major chlorine-producing facility, the BioLab plant in Westlake, LA, burned down. What followed was an industry-wide struggle to keep up with the ballooning need for chlorine.

How Will We Overcome the Chlorine Shortage?

While a public health crisis and a supply chain disaster jostled the chlorine market, the industry remained resilient. We didn’t have as much chlorine to go around, so we found other solutions. Now, we find ourselves at a moment where the market is looking more like it did pre-pandemic. As such, there is cause for optimism when it comes to chlorine supplies.

There are three main factors that will affect the production and consumption of chlorine as we head into 2023:

  • Chemical alternatives
  • A reinvigorated supply chain
  • Recalibrated pool builds

Chemical Alternatives

Naturally, the chlorine shortage motivated people to transition to products like bromine and ozone generators for sanitizing their pools. These products, while not eliminating the need for chlorine entirely, reduce the demand for it significantly. Saltwater systems were already catapulting in popularity before the pandemic, and with the chlorine shortage, they only became more prevalent.

Saltwater swimming pools use a process called electrolysis to generate chlorine from salt. This process reduces the need for straight chlorine to maintain clean pool water. As pool owners take stock of these alternative sanitation methods, we’re more likely to see the chlorine supply normalize.

A Reinvigorated Supply Chain

One of the most crucial developments in the chlorine supply chain is the reopening of the BioLab plant in August 2022. Plant manager Donald Brunette said, “BioLab will be actively supplying the pool market for the 2023 season which should provide some relief.”

With this key chlorine producer back online, most experts anticipate more abundant and, therefore, more affordable chlorine products hitting the shelves. 

Recalibrated Pool Builds

In our blog, Top 4 Pool Industry Trends Predicted for 2023, we mentioned that the demand for new pool builds was slowing. As inflation persists, people have, consequently, curtailed their discretionary spending. This means that pool builders may not have as long of a waitlist as they did during quarantine.

As the rate of new pool builds recalibrates back to pre-pandemic levels, so too does the demand for chlorine. Even as new pool customers assume their ownership in 2023, they’ll benefit from the institutional memory that emphasizes the chlorine alternatives mentioned above.

Healthy Optimism for 2023

As we approach the new year with this information, the term we embrace is “healthy optimism.” While we needn’t fear another “perfect storm,” responsible consumption will still play an integral role in achieving normalcy in the chlorine market. Have more questions about pool supplies in the new year? Contact us, and we’ll help you refine your inventory based on industry trends.

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