I bought a house about 2 months ago and have been maintaining the 28' circular pool (4.5' deep - city water) what I thought was fairly well. There was a period of time of about a month between the house being sold and us moving in where it wasn't touched. After vacuuming a couple of times and cleaning out the filter, we got it to look pretty nice. The problem I'm running into is 3 fold:
1) Until today, I have never registered a chlorine level. The pool has a frogger system and I have adjusted it to no avail. I took samples into the pool store weekly just to make sure I was doing everything right. Every time I've taken the water to get tested, the local pool store just keeps telling me to shock it as the chlorine is 0 but everything else (pH, etc) is where it should be. Every time. Today I have a meager chlorine level because I put an additional disk in the skimmer last night due to problem #2. Is there something else I need to be doing to register a chlorine level? The pool is uncovered and exposed to the sun for a good portion of the day.
2) The water began to get cloudy a couple days ago and then I noticed there was algae floating around. I shocked it last night and then an algaecide today. Yes...I'm the guy desperately throwing stuff into the pool realizing I should have come here first. I wanted to go to the pool store but I think I know their answer. "Shock it". As it stands, I can barely see the floor.
3) We can't maintain pressure. We have a cartridge filter that I need to clean out every 2-3 days to get the pressure going. I have been fairly diligent about keeping the pressure up. We keep it running 24/7 and when it's first cleaned out, it blows really well and gets a great current going.
I can't help but think the 3 are related and I just don't have the right chemical solution. I've listed where I currently stand below with the cheap strips (heading to pick up a more complete testing kit). The only other part I left out is that it does have a solar heater that has been fairly ineffective due to a mild summer and the aforementioned battle with the pump pressure. Any help is greatly appreciated.
As of 08/25/2014
Free Chlorine: 0.5
Total Alkalinity: 180