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Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4286
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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I bought a small electric fence system from a farm supply store

Customer Question

I bought a small electric fence system from a farm supply store the other day to keep raccoons out of my yard and the cats inside the yard. It was easy to install. I ran the wire along the top of my 5 foot wood fence and connected the end to the electric box. The other wire I ran to a ground pole I installed next the the box. After plugging it in I tested it and it worked. It seems to be keeping the raccoons put but today I noticed my cat jumping up on the fence and resting on the wire with no signs of getting shocked. After testing the wire a few different ways I realized that I wasn't getting shocked if I stood on the fence and touched the wire. Only if I stood on the ground and touched it. This obviously is not going to help if the raccoons and cats are both on top of the fence when they actually touch the wire. What should do?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Jason replied 4 years ago.

Jason :

If you or any animal are not grounded when touching the wire, you will not receive a shock.

Jason :

That being the case, you can run a second wire near the first one, on top of the fence. This second wire needs to come from the ground rod near the box.

Jason :

Keep them a few inches apart, two inches minimum. Ideally, you want the critters to touch both wires at the same time when climbing or sitting on the fence.

Jason :

One thing to keep in mind when setting the distance between the two wires is the possibility of arcing. You definitely don't want the wires to arc to each other, which can happen if they are too close to each other. You may want to check for that before settling on a gap between the two wires.

Customer : Do I keep the other ground wire connected to the pole? Also, where can I check to see how far apart they need to be to prevent arcing?
Jason :

Definitely keep the other ground wire connected to the pole. You would have to lay the wires on the floor close together, and plug the unit in from a safe distance away, to check for the arcing. I doubt it will jump a 2" gap, but it wouldn't hurt to confirm that. Also, keep in mind that this increases the odds of a person being shocked if they touch the top of the fence.

Jason :

Are you still with me? Do you need further assistance with this question? If not, I'll be turning in for the night.

Customer : Will someone be shocked by only touching the ground wire?
Jason :

No, that would not produce a shock. It requires touching the hot wire and the ground wire, or the hot wire and earth ground (soil).