The Top Reasons Your Electric Fence Isn’t Working [And How to Fix It!]

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You have probably spent a long time installing your electric fence. And it can be incredibly frustrating when it does not work as expected. Even though it may take time to identify and fix the problem, this is not something you need to go through alone.

Let’s look at some of the most common obstacles you might encounter with electric fencing and learn more about how to troubleshoot these issues. With a simple process of elimination, you should be able to get your electric fence working again as expected.

Sound good?

Then let’s troubleshoot!

5 Reasons Why My Electric Fence Isn’t Working as Expected

This goat stays within its farmyard despite a malfunctioning electric wire fence.

There are many reasons why your electric fence might not be working appropriately, but we have gone through some of the top reasons below. A few of the most common reasons why your electric fence might not be working include:

1. There Is a Break In the Fence

One of the first reasons your electric fence might not work is the simplest. A break in the fencing may exist somewhere. Just like a chain, your electric fence is only as strong as the weakest link, and if there is a crack or break in the fencing, it will interrupt the electrical current. No fence voltage will flow through the fence wire without an electric current.

As a result, your fence will not work appropriately, and you will need to fix the break if you want your electric fence to work well. There are plenty of reasons why your electric fencing might have a break, but some of the most common examples include:

  • Routine wear and tear
  • Animal damage
  • A broken tree branch

Start by looking at your electric fence to see if something has broken it.

2. A Faulty Lead Out Wire

You might also have a faulty lead-out wire in your electric fence. The lead-out wire is vital because it transmits electricity between the energizer, the electric fence, and the ground system. If the wire has gotten damaged or is not connected correctly, electricity might not flow throughout this system appropriately.

Examine the lead-out wire to make sure it does not have to be repaired or replaced. A faulty lead-out wire might be the reason why there is not sufficient electricity flowing through your fence.

3. A Problem With the Energizer

A solar electric portable fence energizer hooked up to an electric fence.

The electricity that supplies your fence has to come from the power supply and electric charger. Your electric fence will not function properly if your energizer is malfunctioning. There are several reasons why your power supply or energizer might not work appropriately. Some of the most common examples include:

  • There might be a blown fuse
  • The wiring system might be off
  • Your power source, regardless of whether it is a battery or solar system, might have issues

Always examine your electric charger and power supply to see if they are the source of your issues.

4. There Is No Voltage In the Fence Wires

You may want to use a digital voltmeter to test the fence wires. If you get voltage readings of zero, you may need to replace some broken wires. Perhaps the wires have gotten corroded, or maybe they have not been made using the correct material. You might need to replace the wires in the fence to address this issue.

5. A Problem With the Ground System

You need a stable ground system for your electric fence to work correctly. If you don’t have a ground system, the circuit will not be complete when an animal touches the cattle fence. If you want your electric fence to keep animals out of your yard, you need it to respond appropriately when an animal contacts it.

There are several reasons why your ground system might not be working correctly. For example, there might not be solid grounding rod contact between the rod and the soil. There might also be issues with your ground wires. Or, you might not have enough grounding rods. Look at your grounding system and ensure it is appropriate for your fence. You might want to run more tests to ensure your grounding system works appropriately.

These are just a few of the most common reasons an electric fence might not work appropriately. You may want to start with these potential causes as you figure out what is wrong with your electric fence.

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06/13/2024 11:11 am GMT

What Equipment Do I Need to Fix My Electric Fence?

Of course, the exact equipment you need depends on the problem with your fence, but there are some vital items you should have with you, regardless of the issue.

Some of the equipment you will need to fix your electric fence includes:

  • An Electric Fence Voltmeter: You need a reliable voltage tester, and a voltmeter will help you check the voltage in your fence’s wires.
  • Insulated Screwdriver: You will probably need a screwdriver as you work on your fence, but you should ensure it has an insulated handle to protect yourself.
  • Wire Cutters: You might need a reliable set of wire cutters to work on the wires on your fence.
  • Replacement Parts: You might have damaged components, such as fence energizers, insulators, and wires. Make sure you have plenty of replacement parts available.
  • Gloves: You should always have reliable gloves to protect your hands. Because you might be working with electricity, ensure you have rubber gloves.
  • Goggles: You never know when sparks will fly when you work on an electric fence, so make sure you have a pair of goggles.
  • Multimeter: You may want a multimeter to help you check your electric fence charger, power supply, and other electric components.

Finally, don’t forget to have some repair parts ready to go. Things like ratchet strainers, replacement wire, and new insulators are valuable tools to have on hand.

The Top Tips for Repairing Your Electric Fence

Electric and hand-held fence tester to analyze the pulse strength.

The exact steps you will need to follow to repair your electric fence will depend on the problem, but some vital tips to follow include:

1. Start With a Routine Inspection

Start with a routine inspection of the fence. For example, you may want to see if something is wrong with the fence wire. Always turn off the power supply if you plan on using your repair tool to fix the fencing wires. Use your fence repair tool to ensure the connection between the new fencing wires is tight, and turn the power back on to see if the problem has gotten fixed.

2. Use the Digital Multimeter to Check the Electrical Components

If your energizer is not working, start by changing the fuse. Then, if that doesn’t work, move to the power source. A standard multimeter can help you determine if one of the components is your culprit.

Then, it will be up to you to decide whether the part can get repaired. If you think the component is beyond repair, you must replace it.

3. Always Check the Ground Rod System

If everything else works, you may want to examine the grounding rods. You may not realize just how large your fence is, and if you don’t have the correct number of grounding rods, the electric fence will not work appropriately. Most electric fences require two or three grounding rods approximately 10 feet apart, but the exact number could change depending on the size of your electric fence and your fence posts. Poor grounding could play a role, and you might need to install additional ground rods. 

4. Keep the Fence Clean

If your electric fence is behaving appropriately, but you aren’t getting the right amount of power, try cleaning underneath the electric fence. Remember that vegetation could grow in and around the electric fence perimeter over time, and grass, weeds, and other fences could get in the way of your electrical components, impairing their performance. Use a lawnmower or brushcutter – or a similar tool. I’ve even used manual hedge cutters in tricky spots!

5. Do Not Neglect Quality

Even though you might be on a tight budget, you do not want to sacrifice the quality of your electric fence. Instead, invest in quality fencing materials and components. They could save you time in the long run because you won’t have to deal with as many issues. Furthermore, quality components can save money because you won’t have to perform as many repairs.

6. Safety Should Always Come First

Finally, no matter how frustrated you might be, remember that safety should always come first. Please – always use gloves and goggles when you are working with electrical components. You should also turn off the power when working directly on the fence. A hot wire with an active electrical circuit can be ludicrously dangerous. 

Keep in mind that routine maintenance at regular intervals can go a long way. If you take care of your electric fence, you can reduce the chances of dealing with issues down the road. Do not hesitate to reach out to an expert if you have questions.

Read More!


Thanks for reading our guide about how to fix your electric fence when it’s not working.

We examine our electric fencing at least once a month to ensure it’s up to snuff and functioning optimally.

It helps prevent our animals from wandering off into traffic. And it also keeps predators outside!

What about you?

  • Do you check your electric fence at least once per month?
  • When did you first notice problems with your fencing?
  • Have you conducted a perimeter check to ensure your fencing is 100% intact?
  • Have you double-checked your fence’s energizer?
  • Do you have a reliable multimeter to help troubleshoot?

We would love to hear about your experience.

And – we hope our troubleshooting tips help you!

Thanks again for reading.

And have a great day!

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