A Guide to Electric Fencing

There are sometimes situations that call for something a bit more intricate than traditional fencing, which is which a bit of a shocking twist can make all the difference. Below is a check list of all the items you will need to build an electric fence.

Electric fencing checklist
For guidance only, this is a rough list of what contractors will need to safely install an electric fence safely and expertly:

• Battery (where applicable)
• Conductor
• Posts
• Insulators
• Earthing stake
• Warning signs
• Post spacing

It’s important to remember these are only guidelines. Whether you are using tapes, ropes or wires the same basic principle remains: the conductor should be tight enough not to sag between the intermediate posts.

To achieve this with a permanent electric fence, the conductor – wire, tape or rope – should be strained from your end posts and your corner posts (if applicable) using the appropriate tensioning device. End and corner posts also need the correct insulators, which will differ from those used on the intermediates. With a temporary electric fence the necessary tension is usually achieved by using a reel system.

How to install an electric fence
If you follow these simple steps on how to install your fence, it can be done correctly and safely.
1. The first thing you should check are your posts. Are they in securely, especially the end and corner straining posts?2. Once you have added your conductor it's good to check for overhanging foliage or long grass that can cause your fence to short out. It's also worth double checking at this point that all connections are correct and not likely to break.
3. With any electric fence, certain rules must be followed’, both when you first install it and throughout its life. Many reported malfunctions are due to simple faults which can be detected by frequent inspection, and corrected before they develop into serious problems. Regular checking for loose connections and shorting foliage is a must.
4. Now you’ve checked your posts and conductors you need to bury the earth stake. This should be at least one metre below the ground for an effective earthing of a battery powered energiser, and at least two metres for a mains-powered unit.
5. In very dry or sandy soils, additional earth stakes may be needed. If your earthing is inadequate, the voltage on the fence line may drop to a level where the fence becomes ineffective. This is one of the most common causes of poor fence performance.
NB: In dry spells you will need to water the area around the earth stakes to insure your fence earth is working effectively.
6. It’s now time to connect your energiser. At this point it should not be connected to a power source. Attach the green clip to your earth and the red clip to the fence.
7. Now it's time to attach your cables to the power. Make sure your energiser is turned off.
NB: If your energiser has its own internal battery, there will be no external cables to connect to the power supply. If you are using a mains energiser simply plug in to the nearest convenient 13A power point, but before switching on. You will need to connect the energiser to the earth stake and to the fence line using lead out cable cut to the required lengths. Which ever type of conductor you are using, if your fence line has more than one strand, you will also need to make an electrical connection to carry the current from the powered strand to the other strand or strands. There are various accessories for doing this.
8. Once you have checked the connections to the energiser and also those from the energiser you should now turn your energiser on. You should be able to hear a ticking sound as your energiser sends a pulse of electricity out. It is useful at this point to use a tester to check at different points of your fence; you should aim for a minimum of 3000 volts at the end of your fence.

Help & advice
If you need more information about fencing and landscaping, please get in touch with your local AVS branch. Our expert staff are always happy to offer help and advice and can provide you with a free quote for supplying materials. 

27th Jan 2020