Just finished constructing your new house and in need of a mailbox or replacing your old mailbox post? From time to time, we find ourselves in need of a mailbox. Exposure to the elements of nature over time causes wear and tear of mailboxes.
Thus, a new mailbox may be necessary. Similarly, a newly developed house will also require a new locking mailbox. To install a mailbox, you may opt to procure the services of professionals or just do it yourself.
However, there are a few important things that you need to consider before installing your mailbox. It is necessary to acquaint yourself with this information before you embark on installing the mailbox.
Important things you need to Know:
What Utilities Are Passing Underground in Your Yard?
To set up your mailbox, you may need to dig up. However, you cannot just start digging. There may be utility lines running underground. Digging may cause destruction to the utility lines.
Therefore, before you start digging, you need to contact your utility company to help you ascertain where the utility lines pass. You can contact your utility company by dialing 811. They will send someone to come mark your yard so that you know where it is safe for you to dig. All utilities must mark their buried lines before you can do any digging.
They will have flags of different colors for each utility such as yellow for gas lines. You can also visit the 811 website to check the rules that apply within your state. Failure to consult 811 may land you in trouble as you may end up paying huge fines and penalties for destroying utilities while digging. Consulting 811 will therefore help you save your dollars!
Other than the fines, if you hit a utility line, you may suffer serious injuries or damages, which would lead to losses. Although you may be replacing a mailbox, it is still necessary to consult 811 since the location of some utility lines may shift due to erosion and root structure growth.
U.S. Postal Services Standards
The U.S. Postal Services provides guidelines for installing mailboxes. They guide on the size dimensions and material of the mailboxes. The mailbox you install in your home must meet the USPS size and construction standards. Such a mailbox would have the Postmaster
General’s (PMG) seal of approval. For the approval, one needs to present their mailbox to the Postmaster General. If constructing it from scratch, you may need to contact US Postal Service Engineering for the right measurements.
The USPS recommends that mailboxes should be between 41” and 45” above the road surface. They should also be between 6” and 8” from the curb. Information about your house or apartment number and street number should be on the mailbox to facilitate easy delivery of mail. Sometimes people knock down mailboxes with their cars. To mitigate the risk of constantly replacing mailboxes, you need a strong, stable support that bends or falls away when a car hits it.
The recommendations by the Federal Highway Administration are a 4” by 4” wooden support or a standard aluminium or steel pipe measuring 2” in diameter. Following all the guidelines by the USPS when installing your mailbox will go a long way to making mail delivery easy and convenient for the mail delivery personnel.
Different materials withstand different weather conditions better than other materials. For example, plastic does not rust. The weather conditions around your area will influence your choice of material for the mailbox. Steel is very strong and durable, thus withstands harsh weather.
Aluminium is lightweight, durable and attractive. On the other hand, plastic is easy to maintain since it does not rust. Knowing the type of weather the mailbox has to withstand would therefore inform the decision on the material to go for.
The Amount and Type of Mail
Size is a key element when installing a mailbox. You do not want to install something that does not meet the volume requirements of your mail. If you receive high volumes of mail or even packages, you should consider a large mailbox with sufficient storage capacity. A small to medium size would be ideal for average volumes of mail.
Security in Your Area
Although most people never pay much attention to mailbox theft, it exists in some neighbourhoods. Some people form the habit of stealing other people’s mail for different reasons. Knowing the security status of your neighbourhood goes a long way in informing you the measures to put in place.
The security features to include in your mailbox would reflect the level of security. There may be need to install secure locks to keep thieves at bay. However, the system you install with your mailbox should also be convenient to you as well as to the mail personnel.
Beyond the Installation
Mailboxes are an important part of most homes. They hold mail safely before the owner can retrieve it. Being the first thing to your home, they can also influence impressions. Whether installing a new mailbox or replacing an old one, you need to be careful and ensure you know a few things.
That could help you save some dollars for yourself. Caution is necessary especially when digging for the mailbox post as well as when choosing the material. Any mistake would leave you some dollars poorer. Learning the existing rules and requirements is a good start. It would enlighten you on the Dos and Don’ts of the installation process.
Once you learn the requirements, you need to follow the rules. It would be self-defeating to learn the rules and fail to follow them. Other factors that are key to the installation are security and the type of weather. Overall, the installation process heavily relies on information about your neighbourhood and the guidelines from the USPS. A visit to the USPS website can be quite educative.