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!


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  1. Rayn
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Hello, i have a strange issue going on, my energizers max output is rated at 5000 volts, but when i read it with the tester it is showing 10,200 on the fence? I thought the firat time the tester was faulty so i returned it and got a second one, and same thing? I have no idea why it is reading more than the output of tge energizer, thanks for any insight

    • Kencove Kencove
      Posted December 27, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Ryan, typically you would want more than 5,000 volts on your fence line. What brand energizer do you have? I would not worry about having more than 10,000 volts. It is not harmful to people or animals because the amperage on the fence line is very low. If you would like advice on lowering the voltage on your fence, feel free to give our product specialists a call at 1-800-KENCOVE.

  2. Don
    Posted November 7, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Question) if a fence is not installed properly can it cause my power bill to increase significantly, it seems over the years my landlord grazes cattle in part of the yard and every year during that time my power bill almost doubles this last year he moved his system and my first bill was even more and the first bill after the cows were gone it went back down to normal range. I’m just curious is it an improperly installed system or just coincidence. I just can’t explain the increase and after eight years of it my brain is fried from trying to figure it out.

    • Kencove Kencove
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Don, most energizers use the same amount of energy as a standard light bulb. I would not expect the energizer to be the issue with the rising energy bill. Do you know if the landowner uses automatic waterers for his cattle? The energizer will use energy, but most energizers do not use a lot of power.

  3. Mindy
    Posted November 6, 2018 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    I have a power wizard pw9000 that has been working just fine. Out of nowhere it stopped shocking. The light flashes, but the typical, “tick,” that pulses when it’s working isn’t occurring now. The light flashes, but there is no shock. I have no idea how they work. Anyone know what it might be?

    • Kencove Kencove
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Mindy. You can send your energizer in for repair to 344 Kendall Rd, Blairsville, PA 15717. Please include your name and phone number with the energizer.

  4. Dewayne Allday
    Posted November 4, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink


    My zareba 10 mile solar charger is not working.

    the solar panel is charging properly. The battery is hot.

    But there is zero voltage coming out of the bottom of the charger.

    If anyone can help me, I’d greatly appreciate it.

    Warm regards,

    • Kencove Kencove
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Dewayne, you can send your energizer in for repair to 344 Kendall Rd, Blairsville, PA 15717. Please include your name and phone number with the energizer.

  5. JC
    Posted November 1, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Can I mix copper and galvanized ground rods in series as long as they have a brass clamp?

    • Kencove Kencove
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Hi, JC. You can mix different ground rods, however, they will not last as long as using the same metal. When mixing metals and sending electricity through them, you create a process called electrolysis. This creates a corrosion and causes the ground bed not to function. You need to use the same metal rods, clamps, and wire though out your ground bed.

  6. Matthew Bliefernich
    Posted October 20, 2018 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I have an intelishock 60 with two 100 for sections of premier 1 fencing. It was working fine for more than a year and suddenly I have no charge going out to the fence. The battery is good and the unit is clocking like always but nothing is being charged down the line. Does the unit likely need to be repaired or am I missing something? Thank you.

    • Kencove Kencove
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Matthew. Without seeing the unit, we cannot tell if the energizer is the issue, or if there is something along your fence line causing the lack of voltage. Do you have a voltmeter? If so, try testing the energizer when it is not hooked up to anything. If you are able to read a voltage around 3,000 or higher, you should start checking your fence line for the cause of the fault. If your energizer is not producing any voltage, we do repair all makes and models at our warehouse in Blairsville, PA. Simply mail your energizer to 344 Kendall Rd, Blairsville, PA 15717. Please include your name and phone number with the energizer.

  7. Jeff Turner
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    We were discussing electric fence and a guy I know stated “Jeff Turner in all reality an Electric fence is not feasible in most situations. You have to have a clear distance from wire to ground or any other vegetation so one little Branch grass hits a strand it’s grounded out.”
    Is what he is saying. True?

    • Kencove Kencove
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Jeff, the quick answer is yes an electric fence is feasible in most situations. Your acquaintance is partly correct in that electric fences can ground out. As long as your fence is built correctly, is being powered by a properly sized energizer, and your ground bed is functioning, a light-to-medium vegetation load will not significantly draw down the voltage on your fence. All of the areas where your fence is grounded out will drop your voltage, but if you are reading 6,000 volts or higher without a weed load, a light-to-medium weed load is not going to drop your fence voltage significantly. So to answer your friend, electric fences are great ways to contain or exclude animals, and can easily be maintained by anyone!

  8. Ungureanu Valentin
    Posted September 27, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Is it possible that I measured high voltage on a line of an electric fence (8800 V) with a certificate electronic voltmeter but the shock is weak .
    The energizer is appropiate for the lenght of the fence
    (7 J for 1 mile fence ) .
    Could it be a matter of Intensity (Ampers) and what is the source of the loss ?

    • Kencove Kencove
      Posted October 10, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Hello. Do you mean the shock feels weak when you touch it? This is caused by your lack of ground. One of two things could be causing this. First, your ground is dry and there is little water in the soil. Or you are insulating yourself, causing the lack of shock. Moistening the soil in your ground bed may help. But at the end of the day, if you are reading over 8,000 volts, and your animals are respecting it, your fence is in good shape!

  9. Jennifer M Ghanayem
    Posted September 21, 2018 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Hi There,

    We have 2 separate fields in separate locations. One field has a plug in parmak box and one has solar parmak 12 volt 3 joules box. It seems that the volts jump around threw out the day. In the morning and evenings they go down during the day they go up. Is that normal? For example, yesterday at 3pm my solar box put off 8000 volts on both strands of turbo wire. Tonight at 8pm it put off 3000… any insight? Thanks

    • Kencove Kencove
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Jennifer, the change in voltage is not necessarily normal, but that does not mean your fence is bad. Are both energizers giving you the strange change in voltages? If so, this may be due to a heavy dew on your fence line, creating a drop in your voltage. You can try adding additional ground rods, or checking the integrity of your insulators. What type of fence posts are you using? If you are using metal t-posts, I would suspect the drop in voltage is due to induction through your posts. What type of fencing are you using? Is it wire or a poly product? For more in-depth troubleshooting, please give our product specialists a call at 1-800-KENCOVE.

  10. Gwen Young
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    My electric fence charger comes on and makes clicking sound like it’s working but red light on it is not lighting, and small area of fencing has no electric going through it.

    • Kencove Kencove
      Posted September 5, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Gwen, do you have a voltmeter? If you can test your voltage on your fence energizer you should see anywhere from 6,000-10,000+ output volts depending on the energizer model. If you are not reading any output volts on your energizer, it should be looked at. We repair all types of energizers here in Blairsville, PA. Simply send in your energizer to 344 Kendall Rd, Blairsville, PA 15717. You will need to include your name, address, and phone number in the box with your energizer.

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