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Home » How do electric fences work and what are their benefits?

How do electric fences work and what are their benefits?

The idea of an electric fence summons to mind a maximum security prison, with a beastly twenty-foot tall electric fence equipped with razor wire at the top for good measure.

But this mental image doesn’t do justice to this fencing material. It doesn’t take into consideration the other, much more helpful things that can be accomplished with an electric fence.

How do electric fences work?

The wires are run across posts, almost as though it was barbed wire, but instead of merely nailing the wires into each post, they’re attached and insulated much more carefully.

When a person or animal, comes in contact with the wire, they complete the electrical circuit, and that’s why they receive a shock. What makes this possible is a device called a power energizer, which converts the power into a brief high voltage shock.

Factors that affect the level of shock

Different electric fences are erected for various reasons, and they each create a shocking sensation at a variety of levels. But in all cases, there are the factors that will affect the amount of shock it offers:

  • The voltage of the fence.
  • The energy of the pulse set out by the power energizer.
  • The amount of and type of contact. Say, the brush of a person’s arm through a jacket, grabbing it with a bare hand, or an animal who attempts to lean against it or otherwise make contact with it. Each of these types of contact will all alter the effects of the shock. Naturally, the arm through a jacket will produce the least amount of trauma although it will still be felt. An animal attempting to climb through or otherwise make contact with the fence will provide the most amount of shock.

The amount of shock needed is also determined by the type of animal being controlled. Cattle, for example, need a higher voltage to train them to stay away from the fence than do horses.
The shock of an electric fence can vary from something mildly annoying, to painful, and can easily escalate to lethal amounts of electricity flowing through a person or animal.

Benefits of an Electric Fence

Despite how quickly they can become lethal, electric fences are just like any other tool; they have their good and bad uses. The most useful applications of an electric fence are found in agricultural settings, where they’re amazing at keeping livestock where they belong. Sometimes, they’re used to keep wily predators such as foxes and coyotes at bay. These are the lower-voltage fences usually, and will just hurt enough to convince the animal to turn around and stop trying to touch the piece of metal.

The lowest non-lethal voltage versions are the ones most often used commercially for high-security areas. These fences are more likely to hurt, and are often topped with razor wire for good measure. Anything more dangerous than that belongs in the realms of maximum security prison or in times of war against an enemy.

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