By Chris Marcano
Enzymes have evolved over the years to a point where there are now specific products based upon the needs of each and every body of water. Today, there are two different types of enzyme products available for use in the pool and spa/hot tub industry—broad spectrum produced through a fermentation process is one, while limited capacity commercially manufactured then blended enzymes are another. Both will provide visible results, but they work differently based upon how they are made.
For instance, a manufactured then blended enzyme focuses primarily on fats and oils. One benefit to using these enzymes is they can reduce the time and effort needed to maintain the cleanliness of the waterline in a pool and/or hot tub. When choosing between the two, however, broad-spectrum enzymes are the way to go.
Broad spectrum enzymes are made using a fermentation process (similar to how alcohol is made) and are capable of accelerating or catalyzing thousands of chemical reactions in pools and hot tubs. These enzymes naturally break down non-living organics such as bather waste, lotion, sunscreen, and oils. They break down these unwanted additions to pool and/or hot tub water piece-by-piece until there is little left—other than water and air.
In fact, enzymes are commonly discussed in many other industries, including health and wellness (in the digestive system), beauty products (in facial peels), and even at-home maintenance (in septic and drain cleaners). Enzymes are used everywhere, so why not include them in pools and/or hot tubs as part of a maintenance program? Interestingly enough, consumers are quite aware of the concept of enzymes, says Chris Corney of Aqua-Don Pools in St. Catharines, Ont.
“I was shocked at how much consumers know about enzymes when we first started introducing these products to our customers five years ago,” he says. “It was a familiar concept because many consumers are aware of their benefits as a digestive aid, so it wasn’t a stretch for them to understand how they are a naturally based way to obtain clearer water in their pool and/or hot tub.”
Where enzymes should be added?
Enzyme products should be selected based on the body of water for which they are formulated. For example, a hot tub can have somewhat different needs than those of a pool. Hot tub water is mainly affected by non-living bather wastes, such as makeup, hair products, and lotions. Therefore, enzymes formulated for these bodies of water target the most commonly experienced non-living organic waste, which can build up in hot tub water. That said, it is important the same enzyme products for hot tubs are not used in pools.
Much like hot tubs, pool water is affected by many types of non-living organics (e.g. bather waste, lotion, sunscreen, etc.) in addition to many environmental factors such as pollen (which is heavy in the spring), bird waste, and even jet fuel that may be dropped by planes landing in the area.
“We always choose the commercial strength enzyme when treating a public pool—especially those with high bather loads,” says Corney.
He is so confident about the results his customers will see by using enzymes that he suggests they try a bottle and if they do not like it, he will provide a full refund.
“To this date, I have not had to give a customer their money back,” he says.
“I personally recommend naturally based enzymes,” says Amy Rullo, the residential division manager at Premier Pool Renovations in Pennsylvania. “As consumers are not experts, they rely on our professional recommendations of products with proven effectiveness and ease of use.”
Reports on the amount of non-living waste left behind by bathers are quite shocking. It is a commonly accepted standard in the pool and hot tub industry that each bather leaves behind approximately 473 mL (16 oz) of non-living waste in a body of water after a 45 to 60 minute swim. That said, enzymes formulated for pools and hot tubs are designed with all of this in mind.