Of all the different hot tub chemicals currently available, enzymes are perhaps the least understood by hot tub owners. Today, we will explore how enzymes can help improve the water quality in your hot tub. But first, what are enzymes anyway?
What Are Enzymes?
Enzymes are protein molecules which are very common in nature. Our bodies, for example, have thousands of unique different kinds of enzymes in them. They are defined as “biological catalyzers”; meaning that they can cause or accelerate a chemical reaction without actually taking part in the transformation. This means that they can affect other molecules without changing themselves.
How Do Hot Tub Enzymes Work?
The enzymes used in how tubs are designed to target the non-living organic matter (such as body oil and lotions) that is present in hot tub water and break them down into smaller molecules. These smaller molecules are then easier for sanitizing chemicals (chlorine or bromine) to break down and remove. Simply put, enzymes allow your sanitizers to work much more effectively, especially in lower doses.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Hot Tub Enzymes?
Your Sanitizing Chemicals Work More Effectively
Many hot tub owners are looking to attain a more “natural” feel to their bathing experience by reducing the amount of chemicals that they use in their hot tub water. Since enzymes help your sanitizing chemicals work more effectively, your hot tub will require less sanitizer to keep the water clean and clear. Basically, when your sanitizer can more efficiently remove contaminants, more of the sanitizer is left over once the contaminants are gone. This leaves a higher percentage of your sanitizer “active” in the water and means that you don’t need to add as much in order to maintain clean and clear water.
Note: Unbalanced water can also make your water feel harsh. For this reason you will want to ensure that you regularly test and balance your hot tub water. For more info about how to do this, check out our hot tub water testing blog.
Enzymes Help To Reduce Foamy Water
Some non-living organic materials (commonly lotions and body oils) present another problem when added to hot tub water; foam. As hot tub water is aerated by the jets these materials react to form bubbles on the surface of the hot tub. If there is enough of these organic materials in the water, the bubbles will begin to build up on one another, causing foam.
Anti-foam chemicals can remove this foam build-up by reducing the surface tension in the water to a point where bubbles can’t easily form. This is only a temporary solution, however, as it doesn’t fix the underlying problem. The only way to reliably prevent foamy water is to remove the organic materials in the water that are creating the foam. Enzyme products allow your sanitizing chemicals to more easily break down these foam causing organic materials; making it much harder for them to build up and create foam.
Other Benefits Of Using Hot Tub Enzymes
Along with improving the efficiency of your sanitizer and helping to reduce foam, hot tub enzymes can also:
- Help keep your water clear. With less organic materials in the water and more of your sanitizer being able to do its job of sanitizing the water, using enzymes will have your water looking clearer than ever before.
- Eliminate Odours. Hot tub water can sometimes develop a smell. This smell is usually caused from a combination of bacteria build up and “used up” sanitizer. Consistent use of enzymes will help to reduce both of these.
- Remove “water line ring”. If you look at the water line of many hot tubs you will see a slight (or sometimes not so slight) buildup of oils and lotions. Regularly adding hot tub enzymes to the water will help to remove these materials from the water before they have a chance to build up.
What Can’t Hot Tub Enzymes Do?
When hot tub enzymes were first introduced, they were sold as a “cure-all” type product. Customers were told that all they needed to do was add these enzyme products and the hot tub would take care of itself. This is not the case, however. For starters, enzymes do not help to keep the hot tub water balanced. Unbalanced hot tub water can lead to a variety of issues from cloudy water, to irritated eyes, to a reduced lifespan for your pumps and heaters. To keep your water balanced you will still need to regularly test the water and add in balancing chemicals as needed.
Hot tub enzymes also cannot sanitize the water on their own. While enzymes are able to destroy or decompose organic molecules, they cannot kill living organisms like bacteria. In fact, hot tub enzymes have been specifically designed to not adversely affect living organisms (like humans). In order to keep the water clean and safe to use you will still need to regularly add either bromine or chlorine.
Hot tub enzyme chemicals have become increasingly popular with hot tub and swim spa owners in recent years. While they are not the all in one solution that they were initially marketed as, enzymes can help to improve your bathing experience in a number of ways. For more information on hot tub enzymes and how they can help you improve the look and feel of your hot tub water, contact one of our water care professionals.