An electric fence is a very valuable tool on the farm. It keeps your animals safely contained in their enclosure, while also keeping wild animals far away from your property. It’s durable, reliable, and surprisingly easy to maintain, which makes electric fencing very popular with busy farmers and homesteaders.
However, even the best electric fence will need repairs once in a while — and when that day comes, you need to know what to do. Here are a few tips you can use to safely, quickly, and effectively repair your electric fence.
Determine the Problem
Before you can repair your fence, you need to take some time and make sure you locate the problem. Sometimes, the answer is clear, like a fallen fence post or damaged conductor material. But other times, the fence simply isn’t electrified and you don’t know why. When that happens, it’s best to do the following tests:
Test for Discharge
Many things can discharge your fence, including damaged wires, missing or damaged surge protectors, or even overgrown grass touching the wires and stealing your charge. Therefore, one of the first things you need to do is inspect your fence perimeter for any signs of visible damage.
If you discover some damage on the fence line, congratulations — you’ve found the problem and you can start fixing it. However, if you don’t notice any damage or overgrowth along your fence, don’t worry. Just move on to the next test.
Check the Fence Energizer
A fence energizer is a device that converts your battery power, solar power, or other power sources into a high voltage pulse. This machine is the heart and soul of your electric fence, so when it’s not working nothing else will, either.
You can check the fence energizer by disconnecting it from the fence (make sure it’s turned off first). Leave the energizer hooked up to the ground connection and use a fence tester to check the device’s output voltage. The energizer should have an output of 6,000V or more. If it doesn’t, recharge or replace the battery as needed. If it does, move on to the next test.
Check the Supply Line
If your fence energizer is working fine, the next thing you should inspect is your supply line. You can use your fence tester here as well — just make sure to measure the voltage from the end of the line.
Your output voltage should measure 6,000V or more. If not, it’s time to look more closely for signs of damage. Was the cable disturbed by an animal? Are there discharges you didn’t spot on your first look around? Take time to look over the line and see if you can find the source of the problem. If you don’t find anything (or if your supply line is measuring high enough), we have one last test for you to try.
Check the Grounding
The last thing you need to check is your fence’s grounding. Use an iron rod to short circuit the fence about 10 meters from the grounding post. Then, use a digital voltmeter to measure the voltage of the post.
Ideally, your grounding post voltage should be 1,000V or below. If it’s too high, try to improve the grounding. You can do this by installing additional ground rods. Add rods about 10 feet apart from one another and connect them so that the voltage is distributed across them all.
What do you do if your grounding post measures under 1,000V? Then, it’s time to go back to the beginning. Repeat these tests until you discover what is behind your broken fence, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need a second pair of eyes.
Tips for Repairing Your Electric Fence
The most important part of any electric fence repair is safety. You must protect yourself and the people and animals around you during the repair process. Move any animals and people (especially small children) away from the fence while you work, and stick to the following rules.
Turn off the Fence Power
Electric fences are built to carry high voltages, and therefore they can be very dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions. This is why it’s very important to turn off the fence power any time you plan to make any repairs that require you to touch the fence.
Turn off the fence power even if you think the fence isn’t charged. Trust us, no one wants to be surprised by 6,000 volts.
Have the Proper Tools
The right tools for fence repair include the following:
- Fence tester (helps confirm voltage at the energizer and along the fence line)
- Wire cutters (help cut damaged wires for easy removal)
- Electrical tape (helps reconnect broken wires and protects exposed areas on the fence)
- Zip ties (help secure wires to posts)
- Leather or rubber gloves (protect your hands)
If you want to repair your fence quickly and effectively, you’ll need to keep these tools within arm’s reach. It’s also wise to make sure you have enough tools (especially protective gloves) for everyone working with you.
Evaluate Fences Regularly
The best way to prevent electric fence repairs is to do regular maintenance. We recommend checking your fence at least once a month to confirm that everything is in proper working order. While this won’t prevent every incident, it can keep your fence in good enough shape to prevent major repairs from becoming the norm.
And whether you’re installing a new electric fence, repairing damage on your current one, or looking to upgrade your enclosure, the best thing you can do is invest in top-quality materials.
Red Brand has been providing customers with the best fencing materials, tools, and more for over 125 years. Our team can help you find the tools and materials you need to repair your fence or build a new one — and you can be sure that it will withstand anything life could throw its way. Find a dealer or installer today.