FAQ | Powerfields | Electric Fences
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Frequently Asked Questions

Are electric fences safe and effective?
Biting and kicking is the natural way horses express dominance and command control. Cattle are forceful as well and all livestock respect aggression. The shock of an electric fence is far less severe than a bite or a kick but achieves the same psychological affect that animals are accustomed to in the pecking order of the herd. A low impedance electric shock is not cruel or inhumane and does not cause physical injury.
Can I change vertical direction of Polytape through an insulator?
The tape must always run through the insulator straight. Never change vertical direction with an insulator as it will cause the tape to tear from the wind. Instead consider using a tensioner.
Do hills effect my electric fence?
Hills will most likely have less conductivity than low ground as they can become dry quicker in summer months and are usually the result rock formations.
How do I choose the proper fence charger?
When choosing the fence charger it is recommended to not only consider the area being fenced, but to look ahead at fence to be added later. That way the right charger may be purchased the first time around.
How do I maintain power when gates are open?
To maintain power when gates are open run underground wire in a PVC pipe or garden hose 12 inches deep. Connect the wire to the tensioners from the top to the bottom so that lower strands can be disconnected if weeds or snow build up and pull down the power.
How far apart should I space my Polytape strands?
Spacing between strands would be 13 inches with 3 strands, leaving 24 inches from ground to bottom strand. On 4 strand installations, at 54 inches post height, spacing between strands would be 10 inches, leaving 20 from the ground to the bottom strand. If you are using 5 foot long Safe-Tee-Sleeves over teeposts you may go the full 5 feet or cut of the bottoms to the height you desire. However you should never exceed 15 inch spacing between strands. Boarding facilities should always put up 4 strands at 5 feet high due to the prospect of new animals that may be unfamiliar with electric fence. It also adds aesthetic value and a very secure appearance.
How far apart should my posts be for Polytape?
That depends upon the climate in your area. The maximum post spacing is 16 feet in moderate climates with little or no snow, ice or high wind. If winter snow is moderate 12 foot spacing is recommended. In areas with frequent high wind, winter ice storms or heavy snow, 8 foot spacing would be best. In areas where the snow pack is so deep that animals are removed from the field until spring we recommend that you drop the tape from the posts and let it lay on the ground until the snow melts.
How many ground rods do I need and how far apart should they be?
The installation of 3 ground rods 10 feet apart is the universally accepted standard for adequate grounding of an electric fence system. Any less may reduce the amount of power returning to the fence also reducing the amount of shock the animal will receive.
How many strands of Polytape do I need?
Determining the right number of strands to use and the height of your fence requires some evaluation. The type of horses and the amount of property is first. If you ride as a casual pastime and have trail type, mature horses, 3 strands will be sufficient for pasture areas. Rule of thumb: less than 1 acre per horse use 4 strands, more than 1 acre per horse 3 strands is sufficient. If you have breeding stock with foals 4 strands is a must. Stallions, depending on their attitudes may require 5 or 6 strands, 5 to 6 feet tall. The average height of most installations is 54 inches to the top of the posts and 50 inches to the top strand.
Is electric fencing more cost effective than other fencing solutions?
With the exception of barbed wire, electric fence is the most economical fencing that can be installed. Considering that the shock of the fence is the greater deterrent and not the brute strength, the need for elaborate bracing is unnecessary except with high tensile wire. Reduced repair and maintenance of electric fence also adds to the economical value. Over long periods, electric fence requires far less consumption of time and money to maintain compared to most rigid products.
What do I do if I strip a screw in a vinyl sleeve and the insulator is loose?
The sleeves are made of PVC like water pipe but with high grade UV protection. You can simply put a drop of PVC glue on the screw and gently thread it back into the stripped out hole. It will dry tight but not stick to the polyethylene insulator.
What is "Fence Load"?
An electric fence is a less-than-ideal environment on which to conduct electricity. Along the course of the average fence there are many conditions which will divert or impede the flow of electricity. Collectively, these conditions are known as "fence load". Weeds or vegetation growing on the fence line are the most common culprit contributing to a heavy fence load. Green plants draw voltage and amperage from the fence to the earth. Other circumstances can rob the fence of voltage and amperage. Cracked or broken insulators, or insulators of poor design will allow electricity to leak to the fence post and return to earth. Sagging or broken wires can contact un-insulated wires or the ground.Wet weather will magnify all of these problems. When enough conditions exist to draw all of the electricity produced by the fence charger from the fence, the fence is said to be "shorted out." Rusty wire, poor splices, or wire of insufficient diameter to carry the flow of voltage and amperage also contribute to fence load. These problems do not draw voltage and amperage to earth, but they do impede the flow of electricity along the fence, contributing to the fence load. Even the length of the fence contributes to the fence load. The longer the fence, the less ability (or greater capacitance) it has to store the energy supplied by the charger. On very long fences, capacitance can be a major contributor to fence load. Proper construction with quality components, installing an adequately powered fence charger, and good management practices are the key to keeping fence load under control.
What is the most common failure of electric fencing?
The most common failure of electric fence is poor grounding. This can result from barren, dry, frozen or heavy snow covered ground. Knowing that these conditions exist before a fence is built could lead to the installation of a hot/ground system.
What role does soil condition play in electric fence installations?
Soil condition is an issue that must be considered when installing electric fencing. Dry or sandy soil may require a fence charger with greater power than in moist areas where green foliage is abundant year around. See improving your ground system on the back cover of your Polytape product for more information on reliable electric fence operation in arid conditions.
Where should I install gates?
Location of gates, type, and amount of traffic going through the area is an important consideration. Installing metal gates in high traffic areas and in corners makes handling animals easier. Electric gates are great for pasture separations or implement traffic.
Why low impedance fencers are safe
Because the on-time of low impedance, capacitive discharge electric fencers is so short and there is at least 1 second of off-time between pulses. The pulses can be made up of high voltage and high amperage without causing harm to humans and animals. The short on-time also ensures that heat will not be developed and the potential for igniting fires is eliminated.
Will snow effect my electric fence?
Snow does not conduct electricity and frozen ground reduces the conductivity of normally conductive soil.
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