Electric fences are great for security and containing animals or preventing them from straying onto your land – find out more about installing an electric fence here.
An electric fence is, simply, an electrified barrier which prevents animals or people from crossing a boundary. The voltages used are not harmful, as anyone who has touched a live electric fence will know, they simply serve as a deterrent. It is possible to use slightly higher voltages that verge on being painful, but nothing close to what would be considered lethal power levels are used in electric fencing.
What are electric fences used for?
An electric fence is a great way to prevent foxes, rabbits, badgers, deer, cats, squirrels and dogs from encroaching on your land. They are also good if you need to keep horses, poultry, pigs, sheep, goats, cattle, dogs or any other animal within the boundaries of your property.
How do electric fences work?
Electric fences work by running a brief, high voltage pulse through the fence, about once per second. If a person or animal is touching the electric fence, and they are grounded, then the electricity will flow quickly through them, causing a mild shock that will deter them from touching the electric fence again. The electric fence must not be itself grounded in any way and therefore none of the wire must touch the earth and likewise no vegetation must touch the wire. Regular checks to see if the electric fence is grounded in this way are quick and worthwhile to ensure your electric fence is always working as it should be. Electric fences are usually attached to posts – but not directly. A plastic or porcelain protector between the wire and the post is normally used to prevent unwanted grounding.
What materials are used for electric fences?
Electric fences are generally made from steel wiring and can consist of one or more strands that run along the boundary of the area you wish to protect. More recently, electric fences have been developed which have a synthetic webbing with fine conducting wires woven into them. They still work in the same way as a standard electric fence, but they are especially useful for areas where additional visibility is required. The posts used to support the electric fence are usually made from wood or metal that has been driven into the ground.
Cost of electric fences
Electric fences have high initial costs for the purchase of the materials and the cost of installation. Once they are installed, however, they need only minimal maintenance and can last for years on end. Generally they are considered to be more cost effective than standard fences because they cover the same distance but require fewer posts which means you make savings on material costs. It is best to have your electric fence installed by a qualified contractor who can make sure it is set up safely, securely and with minimal fuss so that your electric fence gives you years of effective protection.