How to Install an Electric Fence

What You'll Need
Lineman's pliers
Fence tester

One of the fastest ways to install a fence is to put in an electric fence. In a single afternoon, you can install a complete perimeter fence, making it a convenient solution. Keep in mind that electric fences are not effective against some animals, such as goats, but they will work well for most livestock and pets.

Step 1: Define the Fence Line

The best way to lay out an electric fence line is to use string. Install corner posts, tie one end of the string to a post, and stretch it out to the next corner. This gives you a straight line to follow for installing the posts, and provides you with a guide for trimming to either side of the fence.

Step 2: Clear the Path

Electric fence wire can be shorted out by something as innocent as a broken flower stem. For this reason, it is imperative that you remove all foliage along the path of the fence. If you clear the fence line to 5 feet on either side of the fence, you can avoid long branches and fast growing weeds. Use the machete, and chop any offending plants at ground level. Remove cut greenery away from the fence line.

Step 3: Install the T-Posts

The easy way to install electric fencing is to use T-posts. These metal posts can be inserted into the soil, and pushed into the soil. To drive the posts into the ground, there is a special device available that fits over the top of the posts, and works by lifting it up, and dropping it onto the top of the post repeatedly.

Step 4: Install the Insulators

Fence insulators for T-posts clip on. When you purchase the insulators, be sure to get ones designed for T-posts, and they will include simple clips that wrap the T-post and hold the insulator firmly in place. Make sure that your fencing runs level with the lay of the ground, not with the height of the posts.

Step 5: Stretch the Wire

Start by tying off one end of the wire at the fence charger. Unroll the wire a little at a time, pulling it from one post to the next. At each insulator, wrap the wire once around the plastic holder, but do not pull the wire so tight that it cuts into the plastic, or the insulator will have to be replaced. Proceed all the way around the fence line, and then connect the two wire ends to the connectors on the fence charger. Install a ground wire, and turn on the power.

Step 6: Indispensable Electric Fence Tools

When working with your electric fence you will want to keep 3 essential tools on hand. First you will need a machete to remove weeds and branches, for example. You will also need a pair of pliers to make any repairs as you check the fence. Lastly, you will want a fence tester to locate breaks shorts. In most situations, these will be the only tools you need to maintain an electric fence.