How to Use A Spirit Level

We use the spirit level in many practical fields such as in building, carpentry, masonry, etc to ascertain the levelness of a surface. Not only does it check for levelness, but plumb and 45-degree slope are also subjects to check with this tool.

As we know, a spirit level can be accurate up to ±0.5milimeters/meter or ±0.005inches/inch or 0.029degrees/degree. However, this accuracy can be nothing if the proper use is not applied.

In this post, we are trying to explain the best practice of using the spirit level correctly.

The key to using and reading the spirit level lies on the level’s vial. The vial is the critical component of a spirit level that looks yellowish-green in color with additives to impart UV protection and optimal performance in a wide temperature range. When a particular level surface is being checked with a spirit level, the bubble will be at the center of the vial.

However, the bubble being at the center is not entirely enough. Other steps need to be explained clearly to achieve the perfect result.

What to Do Before Using the Spirit Level

  • First of all, clean the spirit level for any dust or other material.
  • Choose the right model of spirit levels. This is highly important. If you want to confirm that a pipe is level, then using a single vial spirit level is enough. However, if you want to confirm the tripod whether is level or not, please, use the bull’s eye spirit level.
  • Recheck the accuracy of the spirit level by comparing the result with the result taken by the machinist level. Surely, this process performs on a flat surface.

Steps to Use A Spirit Level

It’s worth noting that the following steps are addressed for a spirit level that has a single vial. That said, we are only checking the levelness of a surface on one axis (X-axis or Y-axis) for example a pipe, not a wide surface.

  • After the bottom surface of the spirit level is clean. Now, these are the steps:
  • Now, place the spirit level on the surface whose levelness is being checked. Keep the spirit level such that its bottom lies on the surface that needs to be checked for levelness. If the surface is ferrous, use the spirit levels that have magnets at their bottom to make them easy to use in the case of metals. If the surface to check is a pipe, use the models with a V-grooved base shape.
  • Avoid blocking the vials with your hands and check the body of the spirit level for its proper handling.
  • After putting the level on the desired surface, wait for a suitable amount of time to let the bubble adjust in the vial.
  • If the bubble is exactly between the two lines marked on the vial or simply at the center, then the surface is considered level.
  • If the surface is not level, make adjustments on the surface being checked and keep testing it repeatedly.
  • The tilt direction of the bubble indicates the slope direction. If the bubble slides up toward the left, it shows that the left surface is higher than the level state. Remove material on the left side and recheck the level. Do the same thing if it occurs on the right surface.

After using the spirit level, put it in the right place. Some spirit levels have punched hole either on both or one side for the hanging purpose and you could use that feature to hang the level.