The Importance of Your House Numbers

You may have not given much thought to the numbers on your house. In most cases, we use whatever was there when we purchase the property. But they have important use.

House numbers are not only convenient for finding addresses but necessary for emergency responders to locate those in need.

When responding to an emergency, minutes matters. Response time is critical, and the time it takes to pinpoint a precise location can mean the difference between life and death. 

Some of the most prominent places to display your house numbers:

  • Directly on the building
  • By the street on a post or sign made from fire-proof material
  • On the mailbox
  • On the curb (usually painted) – sometimes this is used in conjunction with another location

Where you display your house numbers may be dictated by city ordinances or homeowner’s association rules. If you have flexibility, you should also consider a few other placement tips:

  • Make sure the numbers are large enough and can be easily seen from the road. Numbers should be at least four inches tall, but may need to be larger depending upon how far from the roadway they will be located.
  • Numbers should be in a contrasting color from the color of your house so the address stands out. This may mean that they need to be a color that is not part of your overall color scheme.
  • Select numbers that are easy to read and not in a cursive style design. They should also be numerical and not text-based numbers.
  • Keep trees and plants trimmed to not block the house numbers. Or if they are on a mailbox, post, or curb, be sure that any nearby vegetation is kept trimmed.
  • Install a light above the numbers or use reflective numbers so the address can be noticeable at night.

Just like you maintain other items around your property, you need to do some maintenance on these numbers as well, so that they are in the best shape possible in the event they need to be seen in an emergency.

If the numbers get dirty or muddy, clean them off. If they’ve been painted from their original color, be sure to check the paint periodically and touch them up as needed. If you paint your house, take a look at the numbers and make sure they are in a contrasting color; if not, either paint them or purchase a new set.

The most important time that house numbers are needed are during an emergency, so do a quick review of your house number from the roadway. Is it easy to find? Are the numbers large enough to be seen easily from the road? Can they be seen at night? Use the information you gather to determine if it’s time for an upgrade of this small, but important, item.

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