According to a local meteorologist, Central Indiana experienced a relatively mild winter in late 2019/early 2020 and if you’ve lived here for any amount of time, you know how rare that is. So if you’re anything like us, you live in a state of complete denial every time the word “winter” is even mentioned. With that being said, Otto’s would like to share a few tips that we’ve learned along the way that will protect your mailbox and help ensure your unit can withstand the pressure of mounting snow. Before bad weather begins, be proactive and try these 6 simple steps.
- Wash and wax your mailbox. Remove the mailbox from the post, use simple dish washing soap with warm water and thoroughly wash both the inside and out. Then apply a thin coat of regular, non-abrasive car wax to the entire box. The wax helps protect the paint finish similar to your vehicle.
- Check the stability of your post by making sure it is secure in the ground. If it’s loose, buy a bag of gravel mix from the local home improvement store and pack it down around the base at ground level. Caulk any holes &/or cracks in the arm or support brace to keep out moisture and strengthen their bond to the main post. Otto’s recommends using a paintable wood and then applying a fresh coat of paint that matches the original color.
- Before you reattach the mailbox onto the post, examine the pieces of wood that the mailbox screws into. Check to make sure that these mounting boards are not loose or rotting. If the boards are not tight, any small amount of pressure could force them to detach from the post causing damage to your mailbox when it hits the ground.
- If the door falls open, you may need to adjust the latch. For a standard mailbox with a riveted latch, use a pair of pliers and bend the inside lip up to tighten it or down to loosen it. For those of you with a stainless steel latch, the same concept applies; however, you will need to bend the top piece slightly up or down in order to realign it with the bottom piece. If the door still has issues, the stainless steel latch can be easily replaced for a small fee but unfortunately the standard mailbox has a riveted latch and is not sold separately.
- If you live in a dimly lit area or on a rural road, you may want to install reflectors on your mailbox or post. The Department of Transportation recommends using blue or clear reflectors as opposed to red or orange because those are often confused for tail lights. You want your unit to be easily seen in the dark or during heavy snowfall.
- Lastly, keep the area around your mailbox clear of snow piles &/or debris. The less you have around the post itself, the less likely your mailbox will become a casualty of a snow plow because it’s clearly visible. Hire a young neighborhood entrepreneur or one of your grand kids to shovel snow and it ends up being a win-win scenario.
As for Otto’s, we don’t wash mailboxes or shovel snow but we would be happy to perform what we call “post maintenance” on the mailbox unit for you. We can check the stability of your post, caulk any cracks, apply a fresh coat of paint (if the temperature is 40? or higher), inspect or replace the mounting boards and adjust the door latch. We pride ourselves on being a one-stop-shop and we strive to make life better for our customers. Please let us know how we can help you protect your investment this winter.