PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- If you're hanging out by the pool this weekend, there's so much to know -- a looming chlorine shortage, how to keep your pool in sparkling shape for summer, and where to find the coolest pool toys. We dive into everything you'll need to know to sail smoothly into Memorial Day.
First, we went shopping for the most fabulous pool floats around. Walmart, Target, and Amazon have some great buys, but we found ourselves at Leslie's, where the theme seemed to be all about the animals this year. For instance, a 10-foot floating dinosaur by PoolCandy is just $50, perfect for the teen who wants to laze around. Floating giraffes seem to be getting popular, as well. They're decked out with glitter on the inside and come with a mini version for a cup holder. Available in various animals, these floats and tubes are sure to get lots of laughs.
For your little ones learning how to swim or working on their doggie paddle, Big Joe's Pool Petz might make the perfect companion. They are buoyant and lightweight, made from beans that float, and come in a host of animal shapes, from hippos to crabs.
Once we had our accessories all picked out, we enlisted the help of Aquaman Pools, a Valley company that services, repairs, and remodels swimming pools. President Chad Nikkel says he's already experienced the chlorine shortage we've been hearing so much about and suspects it'll get worse this summer.
"It actually started last year, and it's dramatically increased the price," he says. "At your local pool store, if you used to pay $60, $70, $80 a bucket, it's now $200 plus."
Leslie's is stocked with chlorine tablets, at last check. But they expect shortages this summer, as well, and are urging people to plan accordingly. "Help yourself out and help your local pool guy out," Nikkel said. "It's going to be a tough summer with chlorine shortages, so go grab some if you have a chance."
He explains that the shortage was a one-two punch. In 2020, when COVID-19 mandates forced people to stay home, they used their pools -- a lot. Also, last year, Hurricane Laura hit the Gulf Coast, and a fire damaged a chlorine plant that supplied the nation. With the supply low and demand high, prices have jumped.
You could opt to use less chlorine or ration it, but Nikkel doesn't recommend that. He says you can convert your pool to a saltwater pool, which doesn't use chlorine, but that can be expensive.
Instead, he suggested a few things you can do to maintain a pristine pool through the summer heat, dust and wind storms, and those haboobs we see during the monsoon.
1. Increase the run time on your pump.
"Your pool should run a minimum of 12 hours per day in the summer," Nikkel said. "You can set your pool on off-peak times for this if you're worried about high electricity bills. But if the pool is not running, it's not cleaning. This is a simple tip most people don't know, and it's easy to do."
2. Check your cleaning system.
"Every pool has a cleaning system. Whether it's a pop-up system or an in-pool vacuum, those need to be working 100%," Nikkel said. They need to be rebuilt every couple of years or so, so if it is not working, take it to your local pool store or have your pool guy check it."
3. Clean your skimmer baskets.
"If we have a windy day or storm, things like that, just go out and clean that skimmer basket out," Nikkel suggested. "Because if that skimmer basket is full of leaves, it's blocking those cleaning systems, and the pool won't effectively clean."
4. Remove pool toys daily.
"Pool toys should be removed from the pool after every use," Nikkel explained. "Leaving them in the pool can block the cleaning system and can also cause surface scum to collect on the pool toys instead of being filtered out by your pool filter."
5. Test the water. Regularly.
If you find that the heat or monsoon debris has caused your pool to turn green overnight, adding more chlorine might not be the answer. "There are other things to the chemistry, not just the tablets," Nikkel said. "There's the pH of the water, the balance of the water, so take a sample to your pool store," he suggests.
The winds we experience during our summer storms are the biggest culprit for turning pools sour. "Wind blows in dust and leaves that need to be taken out of the baskets before they disintegrate into the water," he explains. That's when algae begins to set in.
Bottom line for a fabulous poolside Memorial Day and summer
- Test your chemicals regularly.
- Buy the chlorine you'll need to get you through the summer. But don't hoard it.
- Stock up on some fun pool toys for the family.