As summer arrives, backyard pool owners find limited chlorine availability

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INWOOD, W.Va. (WDVM) — During the pandemic, many homeowners decided that instead of taking a family vacation, they’d spend time in the backyard pool. Now, a backyard pool is hard to come by — and if you have one, good luck keeping it clean.

Here in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle, backyard pool lovers are finding new challenges. Summer is here, so for many, it’s time to dive into that pool.

Amanda Day at TLC Pool & Spa said, “Throughout the winter, you know, you have issues with leaves, water, rain, snow and leaves on top of the cover and that goes into the pool and you open green.”

Cleaning all of that debris away is typically how backyard pool enthusiasts prep for the summer every year. After the pandemic, it has spread to more people.

Charity Huff at TLC said, “the business has really grown over the almost past two years now. You know it took off because nobody wanted to go anywhere and everybody decided the vacation’s gonna be in my own backyard!”

At TLC Pool and Spa Services, Day sees the backyard pool mania first hand.

“We have customers this season that I think caught on last year that it was better to have a pool than maybe go on vacation. It makes things a lot easier,” Day said.

That is — if you can get a backyard pool. Industry-wide, 110,000 new pools are being built this year, the most since the Great Recession. The 96,000 pools built last year were a 23 percent increase over 2019.

“As far as not being able to get a pool,” said Huff, “people are getting on a list for 2022 and 2023.”

Even if you have a pool, good luck getting chlorine to sanitize the water, keep the algae and bacteria out. There is a serious shortage on the market and prices have jumped dramatically. TLC Pool and Spa is selling a lot of substitute saline sanitizers to help.

The expectation at TLC is that the chlorine supply will be in full stock by the end of the summer. The demand for chlorine is so high that a supply that costs $26 at a Walmart or Ace Hardware has leaped to $170 — that is if it is even in stock.

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