Picture of Super accurate level meter
This water meter is the most accurate level meter I have ever used (not counting micrometers or calipers).
It is easier to use and more accurate than using a bubble level and line, or tape measure. It can be done by ONE person, It can be used around corners from your reference point. I have used it to redo my entire perimeter drain system on my house and redo my back concrete patio to ensure slope and proper drainage, as well as level the pier blocks for my patio and shed to ensure they are all level.
It is CHEAP to build! It is SUPER ACCURATE! It is FAST to use!!
I searched the internet and specialty tool shops around my area and found similar but inferior products available for in excess of $100.
Here is a site that not only sells them but offers great explanations on how to use them.
I preferred building my own as it was a lot cheaper, and I had most of the materials already on hand.
This cost me $15 for the tubing and ruler but has saved me thousands in man hours!!!!!
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Step 1: Water Reservoir

Picture of Water Reservoir
Any water container will do, but the larger the container, the more accurate the reading over distance or height. Adding food coloring to the reservoir water will make it easier and quicker to read .
I used a recycled water container typically found in office water coolers, and installed a 1/4 inch plastic tubing approx 50 feet long through a rubber grommet in the side. This is only a pressure fit, but it was extremely tight so there has never been a leak.
The end of the plastic tubing I attached to a 24 inch long piece of recycled 1/2 inch conduit with a 24 inch ruler attached to it with zap straps. Do not plug the hole end of the tube!!!!! The longer the ruler the more latitude you will have with making measurements outside the zone of your reservoir limits.
windblownme5 years ago

Hello there. These are widely used with professional mobile home installers to make sure corner to corner of the house is level without having to move anything to get it done. Fast way to do it. Great job. Keep it up.

Asbestos5 years ago
Very smart idea -- I've never seen this before.

One question: When you place the ruler on the ground to take your measurement, doesn't the ruler need to be perfectly vertical? If it's at a slight angle, isn't it going to change the reading a little?

I guess maybe 2 or 3 degrees will probably only change the reading a tiny bit. Actually, probably the wider the tube is the less change you would see, so the more tolerant of not being perfectly vertical it would be.
damoelld (author)  Asbestos5 years ago
the vertical level change versus the angle alignment is insignificance (so long as an attempt is made at accuracy) The level will be the same (EXACTLY) compare the meniscus of the primary (source water tank ) and the reader level and you will see they are at the exact same level (hold them side by side) even with the tilt
try it for yourself and see.
lemonie5 years ago
This is good old-fashioned stuff. People have told me that Victorian mines were dug with this (but I'm uncertain) - good job! L
Phocian5 years ago
Holy cow, of course! Simple, re-usable and accurate. Very, very good idea.