So you’re looking to get away from chemicals in your hot tub, swim spa or pool … hey the latest rage is Enzymes, but can they handle it alone?
Enzymes are actually not new, they’ve been around for a long time but they have certainly grown in popularity recently. Enzymes are a substance produced by a living organism that act as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction. Basically they assist in the breakdown of both biological and in-organic materials that accumulate in the tub. They tend to do better with breaking down oils, greases and other substances that are usually introduced by us as bathers. Cosmetics, lotions, hand creams, shampoos, detergents … all tend to come off in the water as we use the tub.
So using an enzyme is definitely a plus… HOWEVER enzymes are not a stand-alone sanitizer and are not considered sanitizers by Health Canada. So, this means that a registered sanitizer such as chlorine or bromine MUST be used in all hot tubs, swim spas and pools to sanitize the bacteria that will grow otherwise. Especially in hot water chemical reactions and bacteria grow at a much faster rate.
Of course if you use an enzyme product it will help take some of the load off of your chlorine or bromine which in the long run means you will use less chlorine or bromine. That in turn helps get to your objective of using less chemical but in a safe way. Enzyme products such as “Eco-One Monthly” actually also help in conditioning the water, making it feel softer, reduce red-eyes and itching and even assist with keeping water more balanced (again less chemical to adjust balance). It’s also recommended for people with skin sensitivities. Other products include SpaGuard’s “Natural Spa Enzyme” which also helps reduce the scum line that can form in some tubs.
Both sanitizers and enzymes are most effective when the water is in balance, meaning that pH (acidity of the water), Total Alkalinity (buffer for the pH) and Calcium or Total Hardness are all in proper range. Ideally when filling your tub with fresh water it should be balanced first, sanitizer added (when at set temperature) and then enzymes can be introduced for maximum effectiveness.
Don’t be fooled by those snake oil salesmen that tell you Enzymes are all you need, you’d be putting yourself and other bathers at high risk for bacterial infections, rashes and some other potentially very serious diseases.
Written by Phil Tanguay
Manager & Water Care Specialist at Sani-Sol Pool & Spa