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Homeowners

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Expert Tips

Is it time to replace your mailbox post?  Rain, snow, sun exposure and many other elements of nature all contribute to the wear and tear of your mailbox post.  Eventually, you will find yourself in the market for a new mailbox post or decide to build your own.  Now that you've made the decision to replace the weather worn post, what do you do next? Don’t dig just yet. Premark your project area with white paint and flags before notifying JULIE.  Once marked, make a quick call to JULIE at 811 or 1-800-892-0123 to have your lines located for free.  You can also enter a “locate request” now via E-Request by visiting illinois1call.com or contact a call center agent at any time.  Call center agents are available 24/7 to process requests.  If you choose to begin your project over the weekend, remember to notify JULIE by Wednesday at 4 p.m.  All projects must begin within 14 days from your notification to JULIE.  For additional information please reference our Homeowner’s Guide.

1. BEFORE YOU DIG, KNOW WHAT’S BELOW. CALL JULIE.
Whether you are installing a new mailbox post or replacing an existing mailbox post, you still need to contact JULIE.  Utility lines could be hidden just a few inches below the original dig site which could disrupt service, cause serious harm to you or result in costly repairs and fines. Multiple lines may also be present at the dig site, so it is important to call or fill out an E-Request before digging.  Your utility lines will be marked by our  member utility companies with color flags or paint.  You will know what’s below by the color of the flags or paint.

  2. CONTACT THE UNITED STATES POST OFFICE.
After your lines have been marked with color flags or paint by our member utility companies and you have waited two business days from your notification to JULIE,  it’s time to contact the USPS.  Placement of all mailboxes must adhere to specific regulations including the height of the mailbox, distance from the curb and the depth of the post.  The mailbox should also be easily accessible for the mail carrier.  Check with your local Postmaster for specifications in your area.  You can find a full list of guidelines at USPS.com.

3. SELECT YOUR MAILBOX POST.
Molded plastic, aluminum, galvanized steel or wood?  Choose the type of mailbox post you want to install.  Each has its advantages and disadvantages.  Wood is the most widely used and there are certainly a variety of different types to choose from.  If you choose a wooden mailbox post, treated wood is highly recommended.  Treated wood will help prevent against rot and insects.

4. DIG, DIG, DIG.
To replace an existing mailbox post, form a fulcrum to pry the old mailbox post out. If installing a new mailbox post, make it easier on yourself and use a post-hole digger.  Carefully dig approximately 24-inches into the ground, but be mindful of USPS regulations.  Once the hole is dug, add a few inches of gravel to allow for water drainage.  This will help combat rot.

5. CREATE A STRONG FOUNDATION.
Concrete will provide a strong and stable foundation; however, it isn’t required.  If you decide to use concrete, make sure to mix the concrete according to the package directions.  Next, set the mailbox post.  Use a level to ensure the mailbox post remains perfectly straight as you fill around it. Leave about 6-inches at the top unfilled.  Once the concrete has dried, additional dirt can then be distributed on top of the concrete and around the mailbox post.  If you want to forgo using concrete, another option is to fill the remaining depth of the hole with dirt.  Make sure to tamp down the dirt to prevent air pockets.  Voilà! You now have set a strong foundation and have installed your new  mail box post. Time to attach the mailbox!

Don’t make dangerous assumptions, call or click before you dig!  Always contact JULIE before you begin a dig.  Call JULIE at 811 or 1-800-892-0123 to have your lines located for free by our members.  You can also submit a “locate request” via E-Request by visiting illinois1call.com or contact a call center agent at any time.