How to Electrify a Wire Fence: The Complete Guide


Setting up an electric fence may seem like a daunting task and may come with questions such as what if I electrocute myself? With these simple steps, you can have your electric fence in no time.

Before you can put up an electric fence, you will need the necessary materials such as wire, a battery source, stakes, and insulators. You can use a solar panel as the energy source, but you will need to have wire specifically made for building an electric fence.

1. Measure the Perimeter of the Fence

Measure the amount of area you want to enclose in the fence by walking the boundary of where you want the fence to lie. You can also use a GPS to measure the distance. Measuring the fence will ensure that you have enough wire to build the fence.

When you measure the fence, measure around the perimeter. You will want enough wire to surround the area. It is never a horrible idea to have a little extra just to be safe.

The length of the fence will also decide what charger and controller to use to ensure enough power is being received and travels through the fence. If the charger and controller are not powerful enough, they will result in the fence not working properly.

2. Find the Weakness in the Current Fence

When most people are looking to putting in an electric fence, it is because the fence they currently have is just not cutting it. Most often, livestock keeps running through the fence and cause issues and fence repairs, which is why an electric fence is necessary. Depending on the size of the animals, you will want to set the electric fence up differently.

The animals that try to escape play a big role in how you will set up your electric fence. Animals can climb, dig, or run into the posts of the fence. With an animal that climbs, you will want to put the electric wire at the top of the fence. An animal that digs will have a completely different solution. In this case, you will put the wire closer to the bottom of the fencing, but not on the ground.

The placement of where you want the wire to be is crucial. This can help the fence stand longer or not affect the fence at all.

3. Choose the Energizer

There are many different kinds of energizers you can use to provide the necessary charge to the fence. The most prevalent are wet and dry battery-powered energizers. If the fence is permanent, it is best to use a wet battery-powered energizer. Using a dry battery-powered energizer is best when the fence is moved often.

A mains powered energizer is the best solution, though, if there is a way to keep it inside. It is cheaper and does not require batteries since it connects to the wiring of the house. The overall cost will be lower and result in a more efficient electric fence.

For energizers incapable of being held inside, the next best option is using a solar-powered energized. This will be beneficial somewhere out in the wide open. When using a solar-powered energizer, make sure the sun will hit it directly and that it will not be blocked by any type of shade from trees. This will prevent the battery from charging the way it needs to, in turn, compromising the integrity of the fence.

4. Set Stakes 3 Meters Apart

Setting the stakes apart from each other is very important to permit the wire to continue the circuit like it needs to. If the stakes are too close to one another, the electrical circuit that charges the fence and makes it hot will not work. This will also prevent the buying of material you do not need. The fence stakes should be spread out.

Tee-posts work well as stakes because when you attach insulators, they will fit perfectly. Another benefit to using tee-posts is that they are strong because they are made for outdoor use. Tee-posts are also fairly tall, allowing for various heights of the wire. Use a post pounder to drive the tee-posts into the ground. This will ensure they are in the ground far enough and sturdy enough to stand properly.

In the case that you choose to use wood posts instead of tee posts, you will still need insulators for the fence. The insulator allows the charge to flow through the entire fence without having to put forth the extra effort to make the energy go through the wood. When driving wooden posts into the ground, create a hole big enough for the wooden post and insert it in the hole. Pack it in with dirt.

5. Put in a Ground Post

The ground post is exactly what it sounds like. This will connect the fence to the ground, making the fence hot, or active.

The ground post (or rod) should be 6 feet tall. The rod should also be made of galvanized steel or copper since they are good conductors of electricity. The rod will only stick 2 to 3 inches out of the ground. The rod must be around 3 feet from the fence itself. If it is too far away, the ground rod will not work properly.

Connect the wire to the rod with a clamp. Make sure the rod is not near any powerlines or waterlines. That could make for a very costly mistake.

An important part of a circuit is ground. Because the electric fence will be connected to the ground, any animal or anything that is touching the ground and the wiring system at the same time after the fence is live will receive a decent electric shock from it.

Without connecting it to the ground, the circuit will not be complete and it will not affect the livestock who continue to plow through the electric fence.

If something touches the wires without touching the ground, it will not be shocked. This is why birds can sit on power lines. They are not touching the ground, so the electrical circuit is not completed.

6. Attach the Wire to the Fence Using Insulators

One example of a good insulator is plastic. Plastic does not allow an electric current to use it and continue through to other objects. This will not prevent the flow of the circuit.

Though the insulator is important, the wire is also important. The type of wire you use can drastically change how effective your fence is. You will need to use wire that is made for electric fencing specifically. The best type of wire to use is either copper or aluminum since they will carry the charge better than other types of wiring. The type of wire that you use should be 12 or 14 gauge wire.

The wire connects to the stakes through the insulators. Having the insulators already clipped to the fence will be beneficial when adding the wire since you will be connecting the wire to the insulator and not the tee posts.

Place the insulators at the desired height of where the wire will be on the stakes. The best height is where the animals’ noses will reach.

The wire needs to run through each insulator. It is key to make sure the wire does not sag anywhere. It is also of utmost importance that the wire does not touch any part of the fence, itself. The wire should only touch the insulators.

It is important to keep in mind that to have the fence be as powerful as possible, the wires will need to connect back to each other each time the fence is going to stop. This includes the addition of a gate.

In the case of adding a gate, make sure the clasp for the gate has an insulator that you can grab to avoid shocking yourself.

Depending on the type of animal you want to keep in or out, the fence will need to be higher or lower. A fence for a deer, for example, will need to be around 6 feet tall with multiple strands of the wire that are visible. Deer have to have a physical and mental barrier. The voltage should also be high with a voltage of around 4,000 to 5,000 volts of power surging through the fence.

A dairy cow, for example, will only need one to three strands of the wire holding around 2,000 to 3,000 volts. Bulls, on the other hand, require more strands and higher voltage.

For smaller animals, like pigs, the fence will need to be fairly short regarding where the bottom wire for the fence will be. It is recommended that the bottom-most wire is only 6 inches from the ground and build up from there.

For additional information on building an electric fence for other animals of various sizes and types, use the following link. Source

7. Hook Charger to Battery to Make It Live

One additional step you may want to add before making the fence live is adding a warning sign to let other people know the fence is live and will shock them.

Hooking the charger to the battery is the very last step because doing so will make the fence live. As soon as the fence is hot, it will shock you if touch the fence.

You can kill the fence if you unhook the battery from the fence or if you just turn off the power source, but it is key to remember to kill the fence before trying to touch the fence.

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