How Much Does an Electric Fence Cost?
For electric fencing, a 2 mile span is the standard cost value. You will need eight spools of wire to charge a 2-mile span of fence, so you will be looking at a cost of around $670 on the high end and $190 on the low end, not including sales tax or service fees associated with installation.
Sub-materials necessary for an electric fence include fence posts and fence ties. These cost an average of $5 and $20 respectively. A 2 mile span of fence will need approximately 100 fence posts according to government recommendations. Packs of insulating ties usually come in bundles of 10, with a minimum of two required per post. These costs will work out to about $500 and $400, respectively.
Costs can be greatly reduced by lowering the expected voltage or shortening the expected length of the fence.
The primary materials utilized in electric fences are stainless steel wire and copper wire. Stainless steel is by far the most common, and it is used in varying thicknesses, depending on the needs of the fence's owner. Smaller, lower-voltage fences intended for smaller animals will generally use finer steel wire. Larger fences that need to span a wider area will consistently use high-tensile steel cable.
Copper is a possible option, but it is only suitable for lower-voltage fences. It tends to be more expensive and less durable, so its use usually stems from old or improvised stock rather than an effort to buy materials for a new electric fence. It cannot be used for fences longer than 500 feet. Aside from its material inadequacies and high cost, copper is prone to being stolen, particularly when it is exposed to the world as it would be in use on a fence. All-in-all, it is not an ideal material.
Fence posts will vary in material. For the purposes of an electric fence, all wooden fence posts are roughly equal in their ramifications. Some people prefer to utilize metal fence posts; metal fence posts are usually made of stainless steel. It's important that you keep the metals used in an electric fence consistent. Mixing stainless steel with other forms of steel, using aluminum fence posts or copper components will result in an electrolytic reaction. Electrolysis is the same process that causes batteries to function, and it is also why batteries will corrode if placed backward in some electronic devices. Electrolysis in your electric fence will cause conductive components to corrode, ruining their efficacy and causing the fence to drop current. Corrosion is destructive and thus, cannot and should not be repaired. It requires replacement with appropriate parts that will not cause an electrolytic reaction.
It is possible to pass an electric current through other fencing materials. Barbed wire fences that are already assembled can, in some cases, be fitted with electric fence chargers to pass a substantial current through them. Barbed wire tends to be less effective than cable designed for conduction. It is still serviceable as long as the materials utilized for tying the fence remain non-conductive or are of the same metal to prevent corrosion. However, while electrifying a barbed wire fence can be inexpensive compared to replacing the barbed wire fence with a dedicated electric fence, this is not legal in all areas.
Advantages and Disadvantages
There are a number of advantages to utilizing an electric fence. First and foremost, they are effective for keeping animals contained in their pens without the need to assemble a fence structurally capable of holding them at bay. Animals learn quickly to associate the pain of an electric fence with the fence itself, and they'll promptly begin staying well away from the edges of the bounded property. This contrasts with barbed wire, which generally requires a more aggressive run on the fence to induce pain in the animal.
For the purposes of bounding animals, electric fences are also advantageous in that they cease causing the animal pain as soon as the animal backs away. Electric fences must be triggered by sufficient contact. Barbed wire fences can more-easily entangle animals, which can result in long-term harm.
Electric fences are not without disadvantages, however. These disadvantages can be mitigated with appropriate placement and careful management but will still be present in the fence as a whole.
The foremost disadvantage is the legal requirements associated with electric fences. To protect both animals and humans, many areas are strict on how electric fences can be assembled and what standards they must adhere to. While these regulations are generally easy to fulfill, they vary from location to location and must be researched individually.
Another disadvantage is simple confusion. Government-published recommendations at times conflict with the best practices observed by agricultural and fencing professionals. The primary recommendation is that fence posts be placed every 50 feet. However, this placement denies the fence flexibility, which causes it to take a stronger physical brunt when approached by an animal. Wider-spaced fence posts seem to result in a less-stable fence, but they grant it greater elasticity when stressed, allowing it to remain sturdy against things that would otherwise topple it or destroy its conductivity.
Last updated on Apr 28, 2014
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