Electric Fence Repair Guide
Having an electric fence requires more maintenance than most other types of fencing. You have to prevent the growth of weeds or bushes onto the wiring, and inspect the fence for breaks and damage to the insulators. Follow the steps listed below, and your electric fence will be a trouble-free device for years to come.
Step 1: Troubleshooting an Electric Fence
To troubleshoot electric fence wire, you will need a fence tester. This device is little more than a light with two leads, one that is inserted into the ground, and the other is touched against bare fence wire. If current is able to flow through the fence, the light on the test will flash in time with the pulses of power sent out from the electric fence charger. Failure to light up indicates that there is a break or direct short in the fence which must be corrected.
Step 2: Replacing Insulators
The plastic insulators for electric fencing can become damaged over time, and will begin to allow electricity to arc across from the wire to a metal post, or even just a nail. When a bad insulator is found, the only correction is to remove the old insulator and install a new one. Some insulator clip on without any tools, and others will require the use of a hammer or pair of pliers.
Step 3: Removing Possible Shorts
Brush and weeds growing too close to an electric fence can cause partial or full shorts. The foliage does not have to have physical contact, but only needs to be within about an inch of the wire. Using a machete, keep the fence line free of plant growth. A good habit to get into is to check the entire fence at least once a week, plus extra attention if a problem occurs.
Step 4: Splicing Wires
Falling tree limbs are one of the most common ways for electric fence wire to break. When this happens, remove power to the charger, and splice the two ends together using pliers. If the fencing does not have enough slack to be spliced together, add a short piece of fence wire between the broken ends to close the gap.
Step 5: Checking Joints
If everything seems to be in order, but the fence is still not working, check the joints in the wiring. Begin by making sure the ground wire is properly installed, and check any joints in the fencing. If a joint is found where the wires hang loosely together, tight it up by twisting the ends of the joint with pliers.
Notes on Electric Fence Safety
Always disconnect the power before working on an electric fence. Keep in mind that the biggest danger from an electric fence is not from electrocution, but from fire. A dry blade of grass or a falling pine needle could create a contact between the ground and the fence, and ignite like fire tinder. This is why it it so important that the fence is checked regularly.