Pool supplies taking a dive as demand remains high

PITTSBURGH — Your pool plans could go down the drain this summer, as supplies are taking an unprecedented dive.

“I’ve never seen it like this,” said Dale Kleiner, President of Swimming Pool Discounters.

Kleiner said they’re seeing shortages of everything from liners to pumps to filters.

“We can’t even buy any more ladders or skimmers,” he said.

Chlorine supply is also taking a major dip. Tiffany Finley, General Manager of the Busy Beaver in Washington, told Channel 11 chlorine has been “starting to fly off the shelves.”

The products are among several in low supply, which Channel 11 has been reporting as part of our “summer shortages” series. Consumer changes during the pandemic have altered supply and demand within a number of industries.

When it comes to pools, you may recall demand spiked last summer, as consumers sought at-home recreation during quarantine.

Now, that demand remains high for products, and supply is low. Kleiner said the chlorine shortage has been compounded by a massive fire that broke out at a plant last August in Louisiana.

“That plant made 40 percent of the material for the country, so all of the pool dealers were put on allocation,” he said. “So what you bought last year, you’re lucky if you can buy that this year.”

When it comes to chlorine, however, Kleiner said consumers have a lot of options when it comes to alternatives.

Not only are there products that can convert salt into chlorine, but there are alternative chemicals readily available, too.

One such disinfectant, according to Kleiner, is PristineBlue, which is copper-based.

“And it’s chlorine-compatible,” he said, so if you add it to a pool with chlorine, “the chemistry is the same.”

Kleiner said you should expect to pay a bit more than you’re used to for a number of products.

“Everything has gone up. Our vinyl’s already gone up 30 percent. Our resin for our solar covers has gone up 50. Swimming pools... there’s no quotes for next year. Usually we have quotes already for next year... they’re not quoting, they don’t know what the steel’s going to be, or the freight.”

As it stands now, Kleiner said freight costs have more than doubled, and shipments are running late. He recently received an order that was placed nearly a year ago.

But, with that said, Kleiner has hope that eventually things may return to the way they once were.

In the meantime, “just gotta plug away,” he said.