With winter comes snow, and with snow comes the big threat to your mailbox: snowplows! The best time to prepare your mailbox to survive the winter onslaught is before the first frost. Put this project at the head of your list or you might find yourself trying to install a new mailbox in subzero temperatures.
Step 1: Check Mailbox Location
Mailboxes must be located between 6 and 8 inches from the face of the curb or street edge. Make sure the mailbox is back as far from the street as possible. If it has been damaged recurrently by snowplows, call your local post office and request permission to move it back farther than 8 inches.
Another option is to request a door drop-box or mail slot. Check with your local post office for regulation details.
Step 2: Bolster Your Mailbox Defenses
Every fall, make it a point to check the strength of the mailbox mount. Mounting polls should be set at least 1½ feet into the ground. Adding a cement base by digging a larger hole and setting the pole in concrete will lend extra support.
Stay away from wooden mailbox mounts and stick with thick metal posts.
Step 3: Install New Hardward
Adding a protective base or mailbox enclosure will give the mailbox added protection. Brick or stone give the most protection and larger enclosures are easier to spot. If hit, it probably won’t have to be replaced right away. However, an enclosure will be more expensive to replace.
As an alternative, consider installing a mailbox swing. This item is a swinging joint that connects the mailbox mount to the pole. When the box is hit, the joint absorbs the impact and swings and spins the box around. A swing mount lessens the amount of impact damage. The box may have a dent or two but it will still be functional.
Step 4: Shovel Snow
Keep the area around the mailbox free of snow. Shovel snow at least 2 feet away from the mailbox in every direction. This will allow snow coming off the plow to have a place to go instead of bombarding your mailbox. Shoveling to the sides and front of the box will also cut down on the amount of snow being forced back into that area.
Step 5: Add a Warning
Installing a steel rod on either side of the mailbox, at least 1½ feet away and with a concrete base, makes an effective snowplow deflector. If a snowplow hits one of these polls, the driver will get a warning and have time to correct before hitting the mailbox. Spray paint the polls a bright color for added protection.
A few preventative measures can insure that your mailbox will survive the ever-deadly snowplow this winter.