How to Use a Plumber’s Level?


If you’re a professional plumber or simply a homeowner who loves tinkering around and doing all the plumbing jobs around your home, then you know that the plumber’s level is an essential plumbing tool in your plumbing arsenal. A plumber’s level is essentially a tool that allows you to determine if a surface is vertical (plumb) or horizontal (level).

There are many different types of levels in existence, right from the most basic to the high-end ones. At the most basic level are the spirit levels with a bubble in a vial filled with liquid that indicates the plumb and level and there are high-end laser levels that project plumb or level lines perfectly onto a surface.

A torpedo level is the most vital tool in every plumber’s toolbox and is a must-have for any plumbing job. Usually around 6-12 inches in length, torpedo levels are essentially spirit levels. The compact size, as well as the shape of the torpedo level make them perfect for use in tight spaces.

A plumber depends on his/her torpedo level completely and so, the reliability and durability of the level are of great importance when purchasing one. So, the question is, how to use a plumber’s level?

Reading a Torpedo Level

Firstly, you need to find the bottom edge of the torpedo level, which essentially sits on the surface you want to level. Check the body of the torpedo level and locate the places that you can hold the level so that your hands will not block the tube vials.

The tube vial located at the center of the torpedo level enables you to locate the true horizontal, while the tube vial at the ends allows you to determine the true vertical. The torpedo level also has an angled tube vial that enables you to locate the level at 45 degrees. Often, plumber’s levels have a hole at one end that allows you to hang it over your workbench.

Using a Torpedo Level

Clean the torpedo level by removing all the dirt and any buildup from its edges. Place the level on the surface of the object for which you need to find the true horizontal and ensure that the spirit tube is parallel to the object. The bubble in the spirit tube will float to the top.

Then, place your eyes at the same level as the spirit tube. See where the bubble is within the spirit tube. If it is in between the lines in the tube exactly at the center of the spirit tube, this means that the object is level. If you see that the bubble is not in the middle, then you know that the surface of the object is not straight.

If the bubble is to the left of the lines, it means that the object is sloping downwards from left to right. And, if the bubble is to the right of the lines, it means that the object is sloping downwards from right to left. To find the plumb or true vertical, repeat the above process vertically.

Using a Magnetic Torpedo Level

Clean the edges of the torpedo level and place it on the magnetic surface that you want to level. Let the level rest until the bubble floats to the top of the tube. Place your eye at the level of the spirit level and check where the bubble is resting.

If the bubble is in between the black lines, it means that the surface is level; however, if it is to the left or right of the lines, it means that the surface is not straight. You can then adjust the surface so that it is straight.

Parting Thoughts

In conclusion, a torpedo level is a very useful tool for any worker, especially for a plumber, to ensure that their work is perfectly aligned.

Ideal for use in tight spaces, the torpedo level is extremely easy to use. And, we hope that after reading this article, you’re able to use the plumber’s level effectively to get all your plumbing jobs done perfectly.

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