Home Address Number Visibility and Guidelines

“Is your home address visible?” This may not be a question that every homeowner asks themselves, but it should be.

Home address visibility is important for many reasons. Not only will the pizza guy find your house easier, but so will mail carriers, utility services and emergency responders.

house

Mail

First of all, if you get your mail delivered to a mailbox at your house, the mail carrier needs to be able to read your address in order to properly deliver your mail.

Worst case scenario, you could end up not receiving your mail, or not receiving it in a timely manner.

mail carrier

Bills, notices, government letters, postcards and packages from online shopping; all of these are things you probably want to receive, and you probably want them on time.

But if a letter carrier or courier service can’t find your house, you could experience trouble receiving the things that you need to.

It’s important for a letter carrier to be able to read your house number on their route so that they can deliver what’s yours.

Utility Services

Utility service workers are another group of people that rely on home addresses to get their work done. This includes phone, gas, electric and cable companies.

These people respond to calls for repairs and maintenance, so they need to be able to find where they’re going.

Emergency Responders

The most important reason to make your home address number visible is so that emergency responders can find your house quickly if they ever need to.

In the event of an emergency, every second counts.

ambulance

 

Making sure your address is visible day and night is a crucial way that you can ensure that emergency responders will be able to find you.

One excellent way to make your house number visible is with a reflective sign, preferably at your driveway entrance.

The Metchosin Fire Department (on Vancouver Island) has a post on their Facebook page from a firefighter regarding reflective signs.

He says, “I’ve lost count of how many calls I have been on in the middle of the night when we’re straining to look into the darkness for a house address. Detailed maps, tracking systems and integrated computers have helped, but at the end of the day the BEST way to make sure we can find your house is one of these signs.”

There are different retailers that sell these reflective house numbers. They are usually sold for around $40 or so, and when you consider that they could save the emergency responders valuable time in finding you and ultimately be the difference between life and death, that is a rather modest fee.

House Number Requirements (Size and Placement)

Ask yourself, if you didn’t know your house number and you were in a car driving down your street at night, would you still be able to locate your house? If your answer is unsure, then it’s time to update your home address.

When an address is too far from the road or too small, it becomes less visible. Trees and shrubbery can also cover or obscure a house number, so make sure to prune any plants that could block your address from view.

house covered in vines

Not all regions/cities have the same requirements for address number size and placement, but they are all relatively similar.

For example, in Franklin County, Ohio, the size requirement for a house number is 4 inches high in single-family homes, and 6 inches high in apartments and condominiums.

The Franklin County also gives some other helpful requirements and recommendations. The colour of the house numbers should contrast whatever background they are on, so they stand out, rather than blending in.

home address

Additionally, numbers on a mailbox are not enough. House numbers must also be placed within three feet from the entrance of the house and be visible from the street in both directions.

Similarly, the city of Harrington, Delaware, requires numbers with a height of at least 4 inches and a width of at least 0.5 inches.

Harrington recommends that, while home addresses written in words or in a cursive font may be aesthetically pleasing, they are harder to read.

They also say that brass or bronze numbers make less contrast against their background and are therefore less visible.

The city also states that if the house is more that 45 feet away from the road, the house address should be displayed on a sign or mailbox close to the road as well as on the house itself, to make it visible from both directions of the street.

long dirveway

 

While most laws regarding home address requirements are similar, it is a good idea to check your own city’s laws to make sure your home address is up to snuff.

A Note About Vandals and Accidents

Some people might not want to put a house number too far from their house, or near a boulevard, because they might be worried that some vandals will come along and do damage.

Ever heard of “mailbox baseball”?

As you can see here, or you may have seen in a movie, that once in a blue moon, you have these delinquent types that like to pull stunts like this.  Mainly it’s mailboxes that get hit, stereotypically, but what if one of them decides to knock down your lovely new home sign?

As rare as these situations are, if you are overly concerned that having your home address sign near to the road might be “asking for it”, you can always place the number slightly away from the road, out of the reach of roving gangs and their bats, as ridiculous as that sounds.

If your sign is rather dainty and nice, all freshly hand painted, there may be other prudent reasons to move it away from the road and on the other side of the sidewalk.  Such as, there are those individuals who like to cruise around and dig through people’s trash on the day before garbage day, and they sometimes will grab anything that’s not bolted down.

Also, cars occasionally run off the road and crash into things that are on the boulevard.  Take these guys, for example.

Another option is to reinforce your sign with some strong glass, or another type of reinforcement (see picture below).

That way, you could theoretically have your sign nearer to the road, but you don’t have to worry about vandals, although it may not do the trick if someone’s van leaps the curb.  It’s a judgement call on your part, basically, how you want to handle this aspect of things.

Custom Home Address Numbers / Identifiers

If you are a new home owner, or someone who simply hasn’t given this much thought, it’s worth typing into Google: “custom home address numbers”.  That is, if you’re interested in getting it done custom just the way you want it.  This will give you listings in your area of artisans who will do the job to your specifications.

We can’t recommend any off hand, because it really depends where you’re located.  That said, if you don’t feel like buying one at your local home store, and you want something a little more special, check your local listings to see who makes them and be sure to call them and / or read customer reviews to see about their reputation.

Conclusion

Although they may not seem like much, the numbers on your house actually play a big role in everyday life. Your home address allows your house to be found by mail carriers, utility services and most importantly, emergency responders, should the need ever arise.

Whether or not your house address is visible could mean the difference between life and death. Following some simple guidelines and laws will ensure that your house address is clear to all. So make sure that your house numbers are:

  • Big enough (usually between 3-4 inches in height at least)
  • Visible day and night (reflective numbers are best)
  • Visible from both directions on your street
  • Not covered by shrubbery or vines
  • Close to the drive way as well as on your house, if your house is situated far from the road
  • Not only on your mailbox, but also on your house

If you follow these basic guidelines, as well as checking your own city’s laws concerning home address, then you’ll never have to worry again!

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