Wiring an Electric Fence

What You'll Need
Electric Fence Control Box
10 to 14-Gauge Wire (insulate to 20,000 volts)
Grounding Rods
Fence Posts
Cement (1 bag per fence post)
Insulated Connector Clamps
U-shaped Nails
Danger Signs
Post Auger
Wire Cutters/Stripper

Wiring an electric fence is a challenging job. Whether you are trying to keep animals in or other critters out, an electric fence can be the most cost-effective option for enclosing a large area. Although setting up your electric fence is not a complicated job, electricity is involved so you always need to put personal safety first.


Step One – Control Box Installation

The first thing you will need to do is find a location for your electric fence control box that is protected from the elements. Ideal locations are indoors such as a barn, workshop or basement. You will want to install your electric fence control box near a dedicated outlet and in a place that is easy to get to in case of an emergency. Do not connect your electric fence control box to the power source until your electric fence is completely finished.

Step Two – Grounding

You will need at least one 6 foot galvanized or copper grounding rods. Grounding rods need to be completely buried within 20 feet of the electric fence control box and at least 10 feet from each other. Using an insulated connecting clamp, connect the grounding rods to the electric fence control box using 10 to 14 gauge wire.

Step Three – Fence Posts

Install fence posts 25 to 75 feet apart, thus allowing wires to flex without snapping when an animal runs into them. Use the posthole auger to speed up installation by drilling to below the frost line. Place fence posts in the empty holes before mixing cement with water in your wheelbarrow. Shovel wet cement around the base of the fence post and use the level to make sure the post is straight before the cement hardens.

Step Four – Wiring

Starting with the fence post furthest from the electric fence control box. String 10 to 14 gauge wire along the length of the fence one level at a time using u-shaped nails to attach wires to the fence posts. Use the shoulder height of the animal you want to contain as a guide for your top wire, with 48 inches being the standard height for horses. String the bottom wires 6 to 8 inches apart to keep out smaller animals. 10 inches is good for the top half of the fence.

Use insulated wires to run the jumpers that connect each row of wires. Space jumpers at regular intervals to ensure fence integrity if a connection is broken. When wiring your electric fence, make sure you splice each connection properly using insulated connectors that are fastened tightly.

Step Five – Safety

Before powering-up your electric fence, make sure all of the connections are secure. Ensure that Danger signs are posted along your fence so that there is always at least one visible at any time. Let family, friends and neighbors know you have installed an electric fence; show regular visitors where the control box is and how to shut it off. Remember to inspect your electric fence regularly to repair any damage.

Step Six – Power-Up

Once you have made sure your fence is properly installed, it is time to connect the electric fence control box to the power source. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the system is operating properly before sending the electric current through the fence. Check that electricity is running through your fence by using a voltmeter at regular intervals.