Tips for Effective and Safe Electric Fencing
To work correctly, electric fencing must form a complete circuit when a person or an animal comes into contact with it. This circuit begins with a power source, which can be a battery or mains. The source sends electricity to a power energizer, which transforms the electricity into a pulse. The pulse travels along the wire, tape or netting and, if it is sufficiently high in voltage, a person or animal will feel an electric shock when they touch the fence. This is because, by touching the fence, they complete its electrical circuit. After moving through the person or animal, the pulse continues towards an earth stake, which is an electricity terminal buried in the ground.
Usually, the pulse is designed to merely shock or startle the animal or person, so that they do not attempt to proceed beyond the boundary established by the electric fencing. If the pulse is insufficient in power, it will not be felt, and, if it is extremely strong, it can cause injury or even fatality. For a shock to penetrate an animal’s tough skin and thick hair, it must be at least two thousand volts in strength. The impact of a shock is determined by voltage, but also by the force with which the pulse moves, and by the physical relationship between the person or animal, the fencing and the surface on which they are standing. For example, it is well known that wearing rubber-soled shoes can reduce the impact of a shock because rubber is an insulator, which means that electricity has trouble flowing through it. Other common insulators include glass, wood, rubber and air. In contrast, electricity moves easily through conductors. Common conductors include copper, silver, gold and aluminum.
Electric fencing is thus usually made out of steel wire. This wire can be extremely thin or thick, but should be smooth. Although it is possible to electrify barbed wire, it is, generally, not a good idea. Animals can all too easily become tangled in barbed wire and adding electricity to this can have some pretty horrific results, including extended physical pain, severe injury and even fatality.
When building electric fencing, it is actually quite important to choose high quality wire. Electric fencing does not require much maintenance and, on average, lasts up to twenty years, particularly if the materials used in the first place are strong and durable.
As far as selecting an energizer goes, you have a range of options, including battery and solar-powered devices. Choosing an energizer with a slightly higher voltage than what you expect to need is advised, as you can then deal with unforeseen problems without having to make another purchase. Furthermore, a more powerful energizer will also enable you to extend your fence at a later date should you need to.
Finally, many problems with electric fencing are the result of inappropriate earth systems. It is essential to use to the right earth stake that is fixed securely. Keep in mind that, in excessively dry conditions, electric fencing often requires a large earth system, with extra stakes placed at even intervals.