For woodworkers and construction contractors, a spirit level is a constant companion on the job. The integrity of a project hinges on the correctness of the level, but they must be properly cared for to maintain accuracy. To avoid warranty breaches (and the early demise of your measuring tool), test yourself with these tips for spirit level care:
How do I test the accuracy of my level?
The level-making experts at Stabila have your answer. While it’s common practice to test a level’s accuracy by stacking one on top of another, they don't recommend it. To properly test the accuracy on any spirit level, they advise the following steps:
Check horizontal accuracy:
1. Place the level on a horizontal surface; make a mark on the surface at one end of the level.
2. Take a bubble reading and remember where it is.
3. Turn the level 180 degrees and place the other end of level at the mark you made earlier.
4. Read the level.
5. If the bubble returns to the same place, the level is accurate; if not, it is not accurate.
6. Repeat again to validate.
Check vertical (or plumb) accuracy:
1. Place the level vertically against a wall; make a mark at one end of the level on the wall.
2. Repeat steps 2 – 6 above, but keep the level vertical instead of horizontal.
What would cause my level to fall out of warranty?
Stabila explains that damage caused by the user is typically not covered under manufacturer warranty. If the vials are melted due to excessive heat (when used near welding sites), for example, or if the frame is damaged through use, you'll most likely void the warranty.
It’s also important to note that when a level’s frame becomes bent, or is no longer perfectly straight, accuracy will be skewed—even if the damage is minimal.
How do I care for my level?
Stabila’s spirit levels are coated with an electrostatic enamel finish, so water and a brush are all that’s needed for cleaning. A reinforced aluminum body, as with the Stabila 38648 Type 96M 48" Magnetic Level, is resistant to rust. But it's always good practice to store spirit levels in a secure location away from the elements.
Wood spirit levels need a little extra protection from the elements. If a wood level gets wet, let it completely dry out to help prevent warping, swelling and separation—all leading causes of measuring inaccuracy. It’s also important to note that certain chemicals can eat away at wood levels. So, if you plan to work with cement, for instance, consider upgrading to a mason level, designed specifically for setting brick, block or stone.
~ The Nail Gun Depot Team