Usually some clear vinyl tubing about 3/8" in diameter will do. Get a tight
cap for each end. Fill the tubing with water and keep it in a bucket.
I've seen Home Depot sell a model with an alarm at one end. It buzzes when
you've reached your mark.
What are you talking about? If you want to maintain a level in a pool
for example: ____
l l l l
l l l l__l
Make a sideways S and hook it over the edge. The outside end
determines the level. The inside end must stay underwater.
Use a flexible hose and insert a bendable wire into it to facilitate
the desired bends.
I have never used a reservoir type, single ended tube water level.
Here are the directions:
I have used the more conventional double ended, single hose type.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
DanG (remove the sevens)
Thanks. That's what I want to do ... only, I was hoping to see what
fitting(s) he used to connect the hose to the bucket.
A quick scan at the local hardware store didn't find a "bucket-to-tubing
adapter" - ideally, something with a flange, one end threaded, and the
other end a tubing nipple.
Use a "bulkhead adapter" to fasten to the bucket. But those are pricey
(or unobtanium) at my local shops, so I go over to the electrical aisle.
On the electrical aisle I find a PVC conduit to male thread adapter (for
outside the bucket) and a female threaded part to mate with it (for
inside the bucket). On the plumbing aisle I find some rubber sheets
about 5x8 inches, used to cut out some gaskets. Also pick up the
necessary bits to go from the PVC in the bucket to a hose barb. Drill
hole in the side of the bucket (down low), assemble.
Oh, the reason I start with the electrical aisle, is the threads there
are straight, not tapered, so they tighten up on the bucket better to
squeeze the gasket, ensuring a water-tight connection. You can find
similar threaded parts in the plumbing aisle, but you will probably need
1/8" to 1/4" of shim or gasket to make it water tight. Or else a big
gob of caulk and wait for it to cure.
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I use a 5 gallon plastic bucket and install a hose fitting near the bottom.
I place the bucket in a convenient location and attach a garden hose to it.
I attach a short whip made out of vinyl tubing to the garden hose. Then I
fill the bucket with a garden hose and let it run through my hose until I am
sure all the air bubbles are out. I keep the 5 gallon bucket brimful during
use. Mostly use this setup for leveling under a house.
I've done the vinyl tube in a bucket thing once. Accuracy was about +/- 1/2
inch due to surface tension acting on the inner surface of the vinyl. A
teaspoon or two of dish soap in the water improved it a bit.
Honestly, I did just as good with a 6ft bubble level going around the room
and didnt have to worry about getting the water all over the place
I prefer just the clear tubing with enough lengh to to reach all parts
plus several feet left over. Eliminates the need for the clumsy
bucket if you have to move the set up around much.
Used one a lot on remodel of two houses, 18x30 addition, 30x50 pole
Put up your datum point Post in the middle is best, mark the reference
line, a couple nails spaced so the hose will slide easily but snugly
Fill hose with water leaving a couple feet at each end empty.
With helper: He holds tube on post to be marked, you slide hose at
datum post up/down until leve matches line, he holds his end in
position while you wander over an mark the post. Or let him mark it
if you trust his work.
By yourself: Two nails on each post to be marked just like the
WARNING about use:
1. Make sure there are no bubbles in the line.
2. Make sure that there is no big variation in temperature for the
entire length. It will be inaccurate if 1/2 is in shade and 1/2 in
sun for example.
For me, the bucket never moves. Once set in an out of the way
spot, bubbles purged, etc- a notation of "+/-??inches to grade" is
written on the side of the bucket so I don't forget it.
Then just the tubing moves from stake to stake. The advantage of
the bucket is that I don't have to worry about lifting the end of the
tubing a bit high and losing a bit of liquid.
Ooops, forgot. My "no bucket" setup is more accurate. Any slight
variation in water height is obvious. The bucket version has a huge
area compard to the tubing and thus can't be as sensitive to level
change. Takes more of a change to be visible or noticed.
I built and used a water level extensively for laying out the foundations
of our garage and house.
I constructed mine from an old wine bottle and about 50' of 3/8" clear
tubing (available at any home center or hardware store). I stuck one end
of the tube into the bottle, then secured it in place with a plastic zip
tie so it couldn't fall out or shift positions. You want to tighten the
tie enough that it keeps the hose from moving, but not so much that you
compress the hose.
Then fill your bottle about 2/3 with water, and set it in the middle of
your work area. I recommend setting it on a block of some kind so it's
higher than the items you're trying to level. Make sure the end of the
hose is well below the water level in the bottle, as the water will flow
in and out of the hose as you move around.
Then lower the open end of the hose so the water can flow out. Let it
flow until all the air bubbles are out, then raise it up until the water
level balances about 4 to 6 inches from the end of the hose. Mark that
spot on the end of the hose with a pen (I used another zip tie to mark
the level spot, as it allowed me to move it and recalibrate each day).
Be sure to hold your finger over the end of the tube as you move around
to prevent water from coming out. If you lose water, the level will
change, and you'll need to recalibrate again. Release your finger when
you take the measurement so the water can level out again (start higher
than you need, then slowly lower the hose end. If you start too low,
water will rush out the end of the tube, and you'll need to recalibrate
Then go to the spot you want to level, raise or lower the end of the tube
until the water level lines up with the mark on your tube. Then measure
down from the mark to the height you want. You can then continue around
your area, measuring down that same distance at each location.
I recommend going back around and double-checking your level marks after
you finish, since the level can potentially change in warm sunlight and
I used this technique to level our 40'x40' house foundation, with lots of
internal footings. The accuracy was quite good, typically under 1/4" all
the way around. Not bad considering the 40' distance.
The nice thing about a water level is it can work around corners, in
different rooms, or around other obstructions. This would be a lot more
difficult using a 4' level, or even a transit.
Just make your level marks, go back and recheck, and it should all work
I wanted a simple water level to check the sump water level and
comapare to street elevation. couldnt see one from the other.
unplugged sump pump
bought a ball valve that screwed on the garden hose at the outside
opened ball valve, turned on water let it run till the sump had a good
bit of water in it, garden hose weighted down a bottom with a brick.
turned off ball valve
turned off water faucet
this left garden hose filled with water
unscrewed garden hose with ball valve from faucet.
walked 90 feet to street
lifited hose hanging down above my head. opened ball valve
lowered hose quickly till water in hose just lapped at top of ball
duplicated several times there was 28 inch drop from sump water level
decided more than enough drop for sump overflow line to street.
although for unknown reasons the home buyer decided he didnt want the
during home sale process we had 100 year flood and a foot of water in
basement after power failure.....
the buyers home had 6 feet in the living room, basement full 9 feet of
water so maybe he thought it minor inconvenience.
whenever possible sumps should have a gravity drain or at least
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