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!!!!!

Step 1: 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.
<p>That's pretty neat, wonder how it compares to the smart tool level (the most accurate level in the world)?</p>
<p>Used water levels many times. The tubing should be a decent inside diameter &gt;1/2&quot;. Water added to level should de-gas , 24 hours, bubbles removed. Water temperature through out tube should be the same. Water left in tube for long periods causes algae if exposed to light, and clouding of tube. </p>
<p>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.</p>
Very smart idea -- I've never seen this before.<br /> <br /> 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?<br /> <br /> 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.<br />
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<br /> try it for yourself and see.<br /> Cheers<br />
.<br /> I posted this on the web about 5 or 6 years ago...<br /> <br /> Maybe even 7 years ago.<br /> <br /> My old man showed me this when leveling out the foundations for an above ground pool.<br /> <br /> The proportional accuracy comes from the fact that the volume of water rising and falling in a 6mm (~1/4&quot;) tube or 12mm (~1/2&quot;) tube, is relative to the inversely rising and falling water level in the reservoir of say 300mm ID (~1').<br /> <br /> Internal area of 6mm Internal Diameter tube = Pi x radius squared = 28 mm2<br /> <br /> Internal area of 300mm ID reservoir = Pi x r2 = 70686 mm2<br /> <br /> Ratio of relative difference in surface area: 70686 / 28 = 2524.5 : 1<br /> <br /> Water level in 6mm ID&nbsp;tube rises or falls 150 mm = Pi x r2 x h = 4200 mm 3<br /> <br /> Therefore the reservoir rises or falls:<br /> <br /> 4200 / 70686 = 0.0594 mm or 8 thousandth's of 1 inch.<br /> <br /> If you added some alcohol to the water to break the surface tension and thus ruin the meniscus or the curved surface layer, which makes it hard to read the water level to very fine fractions of measurement, and the reservoir was huge and the temperature was all stabilised at a specific point, and the tube was non compressible, then using this system, you could hypothetically level or height measure an entire continent to within ridiculously fine measurements - like to within a few thousandths of a millimeter (or a couple of thousandths of an inch). <br /> <br /> A 200 liter drum of water and 50 meters of hose and a stick etc., would allow you to measure or level the area of a football pitch to easily within about 1/2 a millimeter.<br /> <br /> The idea of the reservoir is to get as high a surface area as possible relative to the internal area or internal diameter of the tube to give the degree of accuracy in measurement.. <br /> <br /> The higher the ratio, the higher the accuracy. Like a coke can isn't going to be as good as a bucket.<br />
This is good old-fashioned stuff. People have told me that Victorian mines were dug with this (but I'm uncertain) - good job! L
Holy cow, of course! Simple, re-usable and accurate. Very, very good idea.

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Bio: Electrical technician in the Canadian military
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