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Hot Tub Enzymes 101

Of all the different hot tub chemicals available in the market today, enzymes are perhaps the least understood among hot tub owners. Today, we will explore what enzymes are and how they can help improve the water quality in your hot tub.

What Are Enzymes?

Enzymes are simply protein molecules. They are known as “biological catalyzers”, meaning that they are capable of causing or accelerating 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?

Hot tub enzymes are designed to target non-living organic matter (such as body oil and lotions) present in hot tub water and break them up into smaller molecules. These smaller molecules are then easier for sanitizing chemicals (chlorine or bromine) to break down and remove.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Hot Tub Enzymes?

Your Sanitizing Chemicals Work More Effectively

Most hot tub and swim spa owners are looking to reduce the amount of chemicals that they use in their water in an effort to get a more “natural” feeling bathing experience. There are two ways to get more comfortable, natural feeling water:

While keeping your water balanced is relatively straightforward (check out our water testing blog for more info), maintaining a low sanitizer level can be tricky. If your sanitizer is too low bacteria will begin to build up in the water, causing a whole host of water quality issues and potentially making the hot tub unsafe to use.

Enzymes help you safely maintain a lower level of sanitizer by breaking down organic matter in the hot tub water so that it can be more easily removed. The easier it is for your sanitizer to remove contaminants in the water, the less sanitizer you will actually need to remove them. 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.

Enzymes Help To Reduce Foamy Water

Some non-living organic materials, such as body oils, present another problem when added to hot tub water; foam. As hot tub water is aerated by the jets these materials react, aided by the alkalinity of the water, 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, though this is only a temporary solution 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 in the first place. Enzyme products allow your sanitizing chemicals to more easily break down these organic materials, leaving fewer available to create foam.

Other Benefits Of Using Hot Tub Enzymes

There are a few other knock-on effects of using hot tub enzymes, including:

  • Clearer water. 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.
  • Odour elimination. Hot tub water can develop a certain smell. This smell is usually caused from a combination of bacteria build up and “used up” sanitizer. Using enzymes will help to reduce both of these.
  • Removing “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 you needed to is 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.

Wrapping Up

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.

 

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