Enzymes are promoted to help remove non-living organic contamination such as bather waste, oils, skincare products and more. But can they help with algae-prone pools?
The answer to that question is: perhaps indirectly.
The use of enzymes should not be confused with sanitizers (like chlorine) as they are not designed to kill or disinfect bacteria, viruses or any other type of disease, nor do they kill algae. But because chlorine performs two functions in a pool – both disinfection of living contaminants as well as oxidation of non-living organic waste – enzymes can indirectly assist with both processes by tackling only the organic load. They are designed to make chlorine’s job easier by breaking down many different types of organic matter.
Manufacturers have carefully formulated them from a variety of different types of enzymes that are each useful in assisting the breakdown of specific types of contaminants found in pools.
The formulations for pools have been designed to be useful against oils, grease and small particulate organic plant matter. Those formulations differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, and are hand selected to achieve best results at different pH ranges as well as temperatures, and formulated at different concentrations.
This is why not all enzyme formulations achieve the same results: they are not the same.
Shop around to see which enzyme formulations work best. Some can achieve near miraculous results when it comes to improving water clarity and extending the working life of the chlorine in the pool. Efficacies do seem to vary from one maker to the next.
Virtually all pool enzyme manufacturers claim that using enzymes in pools helps to lower chlorine demand by consuming contaminants so that the sanitizer can focus on disinfection, rather than oxidation. Enzymes have the added benefit that there is no real by-product in the process (unlike chlorine) as they produce only carbon dioxide and water.
Enzymes are a great choice on high traffic pools and spas, where organic contamination from oils and hair can be a big problem. And for low traffic residential pools, the polished look of the water can be astonishing.
Enzymes are also commonly used as a winterizing chemical. Adding enzymes in the fall can help prevent algae growth under covers that will otherwise open green.