There are many reasons to repair or replace your mailbox system. . .maybe it has sustained some damage; maybe you are remodeling the area where it is located; or maybe the next generation mailboxes have security that is far superior to what you are currently using. Regardless of your reason, it is important to understand when it is acceptable to simply replace the existing mailbox with the same type of box, and when you are required to upgrade your mailbox system altogether.

For decades, the old style vertical and horizontal mailboxes, which were designed to meet the USPS STD-4B regulation, were the gold standard for centralized mail delivery. Since that regulation was written in 1975, changes in mailbox security and postal regulations have superseded this regulation.

Vertical mailboxes are for replacement only and shouldn’t be used in new construction

Today, if you simply want to replace your mailbox unit and will not be disturbing the wall opening where it is installed, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will allow you to swap the mailbox with an identical style box — which is one of the reasons these older style mailboxes are still available on the market today. But, if you have plans to adjust the location or size of the installed mailbox due to renovation, or if your project is part of new construction, the USPS mandates the use of USPS STD-4C equipment.

A similar situation exists for the pedestal-mounted cluster box units. The introduction of Neighborhood Delivery Cluster Box Units (NDCBU) became very popular, but is now three generations old and obsolete. These units had steel pedestals that were prone to rusting and had minimal security.

NDCBUs are no longer permitted for replacement or new installations

Unlike the vertical and horizontal mailboxes, replacement of these units requires different equipment. Any change needed to these types of mailboxes would require the use of the “F” series cluster box unit (CBU), which has superior durability and security. This current style CBU also has convenient parcel lockers and outgoing mail collection, features the obsolete NDCBU did not have.

Regardless of the type of mailbox you are looking to replace, it is always a good idea to contact your local postal authorities first — this will help ensure mail service is not disrupted for your tenants. If you need help identifying the type of mailbox you want to replace, simply visit our site, to learn more, or email a photo to us and our customer service staff will be happy to help you not only identify the mailbox you have, but find a suitable replacement as well.

Be sure to check back next week when we will look at the care and cleaning of your mailbox and how to make minor maintenance repairs that will help ensure your mailbox enjoys a long life!