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    Installing an Electric Fence

    Authored by Jemma Petts

    Installing an electric fence on your property keeps unwanted animals out, and your beloved animals in. Read on to learn how to plan for your electric fence, how to install and how to keep your fence going without interruption. 

    How does an electric fence work

    Putting a fence with electric current acts as a training deterrent for animals. The charger converts power into voltage, which pulses through the fence wire. Animals encounter the fence, receiving a shock that is unpleasant, but not lethal. The current is always sent through as a pulse. With correct installation, an electric fence is a good way to keep your livestock safe.

    Planning your electric fence

    Before you start installing, you’ll need to do a bit of prep work for your fence. 

    Measure the amount of space you want to fence in. You can do this by walking the amount and counting your steps, or you can use a GPS device to track the length. This measurement will be used to guide your choice in controller. You’ll need a source that is large enough to electrify the amount of fence.

    Decide what type of electric fence charger you want to use. You can find electric, solar, and battery or voltage-powered options.

    If you don’t have a fence already in place, you’ll need to calculate how many corner braces and fence posts you’ll need. If you are using 6 or fewer lines, 1 brace at the ends and each corner will work. If you use 7 or more lines, you will need a double brace.

    Purchase enough wire for your area. The key for electric fencing is to make sure it is easy to see – you can use electric fence tape for ease and safety. You can also install coated wire, braid or rope to indicate the location of electric fencing. 

    What is a joule?

    A joule is a rating used to determine how consistent the electrical current will be. High-joule chargers are a better purchase, and if you are securing a large amount of acres, you will want to buy something that is rated a joule or more. 

    What you need for electric fencing

    You can find these items at your local farm supply store.

    • Fence energizer
    • Galvanized steel or aluminum electric fence wire
    • Studded "T" posts
    • Post driver
    • Insulators
    • Fence pliers
    • Post hole digger, gas powered or manual
    • Gloves
    • Ground rods

    Step-by-step guide to installing an electric fence

    Follow these steps to install your electric fencing.

    Step 1: Install your charger in your chosen place

    If you are using an electric charger, you will need access to an AC outlet. Solar chargers will need to be placed somewhere in full sunlight. Leave the fence charge OFF while you continue your installation.

    Step 2: Put in grounding posts.

    Your grounding rod should be 6ft or longer. Insert the rod near your charger, leaving a few inches (2-4) above the ground. It’s also a good idea to install a second grounding rod 10-20 feet from the first one.

    Step 3: Get your grounding wire attached.

    Attach your ground wire from the ground terminal on your charger to all grounding posts. You will need to secure the wire to the posts with grounding clamps.

    Step 4: Attach your insulators.

    To keep the electric current in the wires and away from the fence posts, it’s key to install insulators to fence posts. If you have questions about insulators or what kind to purchase, don’t hesitate to ask an employee at your local farm store.

    Step 5: Run your electric fence wire.

    Beginning that the post furthest from the charger, run the wire and connect to the posts using connector clamps. You will want to pull the wire tight using a wire tensioner or cable puller. Be sure to pull the wire as tight as possible but not so much the tension could cause it to snap. Do not wrap the wire around fence posts.

    Step 6: Test your fence.

    Turn the charger on and use a voltmeter to test the lines.

    Step 7: Maintain your electric fence.

    Make sure your fence is working by checking it daily. Most chargers will include a voltage meter or an indicator light that will show if the fence is active. If you see any issues, walk the perimeter, look for any grass or shrubs that may be interfering.

    Keep your electric fence in top condition to provide the safety needed for your property. Be sure to use proper installation techniques and items made for electric fencing

    Learn more about electric fencing