ATLANTA — Another week, another shortage, and with the Memorial Day holiday weekend upon us, an 11Alive viewer reached out to the Verify team to see if summer swimming might be stalled.
Is there a swimming pool shortage? Viewer Darryl said he tried several retail stores and was unable to find a pool to purchase.
Experts confirm the pool industry is experiencing a variety of shortages impacting products including above ground pools, chlorine tablets and construction of new pools. Supply issues are due in part to high demand from the pandemic.
WHAT WE KNOW
The 11Alive Verify team researched above ground pools for purchase in the metro Atlanta area. We found some retail stores indeed were sold out, but there were options available depending on how much consumers want to spend.
For further insight into Darryl's question, the Verify team followed up with experts including Jerry Kisgen, executive director of Pkdata, a Georgia-based research firm specializing in the pool and hot tub industry, as well as Bryan Geraldino, Pool Supply Atlanta.
Both explained that the pool industry as a whole is experiencing a variety of shortages, in part due to high demand from the pandemic.
"[In] 2020, we saw an increase of 23% or a little over 23% of new residential pool permits across the United States," Kisgen said. "A massive growth in one year."
While Pkdata didn't have specific numbers on above ground pools, Kisgen said the demand has been significant compared to previous seasons.
"Most of the mass markets that handle above ground pools ran out of supplies early last season and couldn't source any more," Kisgen said. "Demand is just off the charts."
He said the ongoing demand simply exceeds what the industry can produce or supply in a year's time.
Geraldino also confirmed the surge.
"Above ground pools and hot tubs are extremely hard to get right now," he said.
Chlorine tablets used to sanitize water could also be hard to come by, as a result of supply issues caused by both the pandemic and a fire at a major chlorine supplier last year.
"There's roughly 5.2 million residential pools in the United States, and somewhere between 60 and 70% of pools use this type of chlorine," Kisgen said of the impact. "So as you can see the numbers would be pretty significant."
Geraldino confirmed supply issues with chlorine tablets are also driving up prices for consumers. But he said there are alternatives including salt water systems and liquid chlorine.
"Supply is coming in, but it's coming in slowly," he said. "So there will be shortages here and there."
Geraldino and Kisgen also said parts like pumps, filters and heaters are also taking a hit.
"The same issues are happening on the equipment side as well as well," Kisgen said. "Pumps filters... heaters, other lighting goods, things of that nature, are experiencing a lot of problems."
As a result, Kisgen said such issues are delaying completion of some pools.
In summary, there are shortages affecting different parts of the industry. Experts recommend exploring alternatives and being flexible before kicking off swim season.
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