10 Most Common Electric Fence Problems Part 1

For me it goes back to the old saying, “You don’t really know a subject until you have to teach it”. I have been repairing and building electric fences with my Dad for our beef herd and sheep flock as long as I can remember.  However, it did not take much time as Quality Assurance Manager at Kencove Farm Fence for me to understand exactly how the simplest issues with an electric fence project can be prevented.    Electric fencing is the most efficient fence in terms of cost and installation.  Technology is constantly changing to make each project easier and easier.  The same problems need to be avoided whether we are charging high-tensile, soft smooth wire, or twine fence.  The next few blog posts are meant to reassure folks that electric fencing failures can be prevented.  Continue to follow the blog as we discuss the top ten most likely problems with electric fence projects.

#1 Poor Grounding:  An electric fence must complete a circuit in order to shock.  We should be generous when it comes to the grounding system for our fence project.  Installing at least 3 galvanized ground rods 5’ deep, 10’ apart creates and adequate ground bed for most small energizers. It is very common for people to install 3’ of ground rod for every joule of output energy.  So if you are using a 3 joule energizer you should install at least 9’ of ground rods. Typically this would mean using 3- 3’ rods spaced 10’ apart to create a large ground bed.  Large ground beds in moist soils are the most effective.  Ground rods should be connected using good ground rod clamps.  Be sure not to mix metals when connecting your rods.  For example attaching steel to copper causes a reaction called electrolysis, which will corrode connections, reducing the shocking potential. Be safe; use stainless steel wire, galvanized ground rods, and brass ground rod clamps.   If at any point you can measure a significant voltage at your ground rods, your ground bed is not large enough.  Keep in mind you can never have too good of a grounding system and soil conditions do have an impact.



#2 Undersized electric fence charger (Energizer):  An undersized fence charger creates an ineffective fence.  If you don’t size your electric fence charger correctly animals will only see the fence as a physical barrier not as a pain or psychological barrier. Basically the fence does not stand a chance without an adequate charger.  So, how do you size an energizer?  Start by identifying what type of animals you are fencing, how much fence and what types will be energizing, and will there be heavy vegetation on the fence line? Most animals can be easily contained with 3,500-5,000 volts.  Choose a low-impedance (narrow pulse) energizer according to output joules.  The higher the joule rating, the greater shocking potential over a longer fence line and weed loads.  Use caution when buying an electric fence charger based solely on the information on the box.  Energizer companies use mileage ratings as a marketing tactic.  Many energizer manufactures establish mileage ratings for their products, such as an energizer that will charge 50 miles of fence.  This energizer might charge 50 miles of golf course fence. Always, always base your purchasing decision off of output joules and a reputable product specialist. For more information on choosing an energizer check out our recent blog post about Volts vs. Joules.

Kencove Energizers


Does your electric fence problem make the top 10 list? Check back as I describe the problems I have found to be most common!


This entry was posted in Blog, Fencing. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Brandi St Dennis
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    We finally finished installation of our new electric fence yesterday. Everything seems perfect. BUT when we use the tester (probe in ground handset on fence line) it consistently says the voltage is 9.4 To 9.8. meaning we have nearly 10,000 volts going through it. Tester says to multiply reading by 1000. Isn’t this dangerous? Its a seven strand fence (all live) going around 1.5 Acres to control goats.

    • Kencove Kencove
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      No this is not dangerous for your goats, the voltage put out from the energizers is not like normal voltage. It is low amperage and not dangerous. Best of luck with your goats! We’d love to see photos!

  2. Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    Best One…Ever

  3. Karl
    Posted August 13, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I have a Powerfields 1 Jule unit that’s just a year old. It has stopped pulsing and just emits a solid green light on the indicator and a solid, somewhat weak tone. I checked grounding and all connections. Everything seems good. I unplugged it for a while thinking maybe it’d reset. It’s grounded with 2 3′ rods. Any ideas – did this thing just fail on me?

    • Kencove Kencove
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Try testing the voltage at the energizer with the fence disconnected. If no voltage send your energizer in for repair with your receipt of purchase it will be under warranty. Hope this helps!

  4. Steve
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I have a daikin unit on a relatively long run that feeds 4 horse paddocks with the wire running around the paddocks through porcelain offsets, after rain or heavy dees I tend get a bite through the gates and the other fence wire, I have walked the paddocks to see if the hot wire is in contact with the fence wire or anything else but it’s all clear. Is possible that I may have to run another earth somewhere on the run

    • Kencove Kencove
      Posted August 10, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Steve, try checking your insulators. There may be cracks or impurities in your porcelain insulators allowing voltage to “leak” into your wood posts. Since this is happening around rain conditions there is water present in your post allowing for the voltage to travel through the posts into the gates and hardware. Hope this helps! If you have any additional questions give us a call at 1-800-KENCOVE

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>