How to make sure your electric fence is working properly
Home security in South Africa is of paramount importance, and an electric fence surrounding your property is one of the most popular choices for protection. They’re easy to install and don’t detract from the overall appearance of the property. In fact, having an electric fence will actually increase the value of your home.
But how do you check if it’s working correctly along its entire length?
Checking that the fence is switched on doesn’t mean that the whole perimeter of your property is protected. There are many reasons that your fence, or sections of it, might stop working. Sometimes, if the wires go all the way down to the grass, they can get grounded and lose effectiveness. Bad weather can also do damage to the wires, which will stop the fence from working in sections.
In order to test the length of the fence, there are several methods that you can use:
- A blade of grass – This is a non-scientific option, so you can’t guarantee that the test will show true results. However, it can give you a good indication of whether or not the fence is working. All you have to do is pick a blade of grass (the longer the safer for you) and hold it up to the wire. If electricity is running through it, the grass will snap away from it audibly.
- A metal screwdriver – Another non-scientific option, this method is a quick way to check electricity flow but may not give you completely accurate results. Take a long screwdriver with a thick plastic handle (this will protect you from any shocks) and touch it to the wire. If there is electricity flowing, you’ll see an arc leap from the wire to the screwdriver. You may not see a reaction immediately, so you can try rubbing the metal along the wire to get an arc.
- A voltmeter – You can buy a device that is specifically designed to test whether or not there is electricity running through your fence. These testers can be found in farm shops or hardware shops, and are more reliable when it comes to checking your electric fence.
What can cause your electric fence to stop working?
There are many reasons why your electric fence could stop working. These are the top suspects that can cause faulty wires:
- Inclement weather – Storms that bring strong winds or falling debris can damage or break the wires. Be sure to check your perimeter after periods of bad weather.
- Lightening – If your charger (also known as an energiser) gets hit, the fence can stop working altogether. Alternatively, if a section of the fence gets hit, you could get a break in the circuit.
- Failing or faulty connections – The areas where two wires join are vulnerable. These are the first place to check when you suspect that your fence isn’t working.
- Rust – Any corrosion on the wires can stop electricity from flowing or cause an energy leak.
- Dense vegetation – Thick bushes or long grass touching the wire can cause energy leaks. Be sure to keep the plants around your fence pruned or trimmed properly.
If you suspect that any of these elements may have caused your electric fence to stop working correctly, it’s important to test it properly. Additionally, regular testing of your perimeter will ensure that your family and property are kept safe.