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.
Pros & Cons of an Electric Fence
Like any other fencing option, an electric fence has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Some of which are listed below. Everyone should keep these in mind and make an informed decision before installing an electric fence around their property.
- Homeowners or tenants are saved from the added expense of fence repairs and maintenance. As the invisible fence is not prone to damage, unlike the physical fence. Likewise, you also save yourself from the dangerous threats that come with the wire fence, like sharp edges and broken chain links.
- Another benefit is that it is quite discreet. A physical fence can sometimes ruin the entire outlook of property and can end up looking distasteful. This fence is ideal for people who want to avoid this situation. It provides an open view of the area.
- Like any other fence, it keeps the animals in a closed area. You won’t have to worry about them drifting into far off areas. It will also be easy to train your pets to stay in a confined area.
- Some housing societies has a law against physical fences around the property. Breaching of such laws can also lead to fines. So people in such situations can always opt for the electric fence.
- Electric fence is also very cost-effective. They are quite cheap than the other options available. Electric fences with six of the high tensile strands are priced around 15% cheaper than a spikey wire fence with up to five strands.
- You need to check the batteries at regular intervals. And also ensure that an adequate amount of voltage is being provided at all times to ensure charge.
- You need to get professional help to install the electric fence because it may lead to harmful scenarios if an inexpert installs them.
- You keep to keep an eye out for harmful wild animals like raccoon and possums. As the electric fence can only keep the animals inside. But it cannot prevent other animals from entering the premises.
- A huge amount of investment is required to install the fence. And it takes a long period to get it properly installed.
- You need to stay vary of an electric failure. Because electric fence cannot operate during a power failure. It may also increase the risk of your animals wandering around in case of a natural disaster.
Other things that proprietors should take into consideration while taking the decision are listed below:
Physical Fence Strands
One to thing to keep in mind beforehand is the quantity and quality of fence strands that you want to use. Physical fences have different strand variety ranging in between one and eleven strands. They also come in two different materials that are steel and high tensile wire.
Another factor to consider is the size of the property that the electric fence will cover. The size of the property will be a major factor in the overall sum of cost. The greater the parameter, the more fence will be required. This will have an effect on the cost of the installation.
It goes without saying that different fencing contractors will have different rates. You should obviously opt for the best out there. But keep in mind to take a few ratings and then decide on the professional. Fencing installation is also dependent on the type of soil that your fence will be installed on. Also, boundary shaping is charged as an extra cost.
A solar charger can be used to power your electric fence. The panels faced southeast acquire the most amount of sunlight during the day. Use this to your benefit. If you don’t want to use a solar panel, then you need to invest an underground wire channel. That is quite costly. Before doing anything, make sure to consult a professional. He or she would give you the best advice according to your situation.
If you want to add any additional features with your standard electric fence, then it will increase the cost as all of them are charged as extras. Some people want extra protection or a better quality wire for long life. Some people need a backup power system in case of emergencies. Consult a professional so that he or she can guide you the best according to your budget and case.
Amount of Shock
Electric systems that require a higher shock are generally more expensive. Their operation cost is also high due to the amount of electricity that they consume. But these systems are the optimal solution for families with huge dogs.
Sometimes, electric fences produce a great amount of radio noise, which can mess with other electricity-powered appliances in the house. You need to call a professional that can tune the frequencies and troubleshoot the matter.
After the installation of an electric fence, many people have found it useful to hire a professional animal trainer for their services. The trainer helps the pets get used to the invisible fence. And also explain it to them that there now is a boundary that they need to stay in. The training fee is subjected to the expertise of the trainer and his experience level. The region in which you are situated and on the disposition of the pet.
Lastly, please take the type of livestock that lives on your property into consideration. For example, larger animals such as cattle or deer do not go with electric fences. And putting each animal on a leash individually would be very costly. Ranch owners might want to opt for a physical electric or old school fence only.