Electric Fencing: Is this energy efficient? How much does it use? What does it cost?

Electric fencing if installed and maintained properly is an effective deterrent to unwanted intruders; it has both a visual as well as a physical deterrent effect. Your insurance company might offer you a premium discount if you protect your property with electric fencing. Consider sharing the installation costs with your neighbours.

Contrary to common belief electric fences use very little power; if they start to use too much power there is a problem. The energizer uses around 40w; equivalent to one candle light bulb. The cost will be around R20 per month for a medium size property.

Energisers come in different sizes: 2, 3, 5 and 8joule units. The longer the fence the higher the Joules required. The energiser drives the electric fence with 11 000 volts. The energizer pulses every second so it's not a direct power source; the fence thus repels and does not hold anything that touches it. This makes it legal. Energizers start at around R 3 500 per unit. Energisers for two or more zones are available.

Brackets are available from 5/6/8/10 lines to 12 lines for wall top fencing. Spacing is 100mm between the lines; 10 line brackets are 1 m high. Free standing fencing is freely available from 1.5m to 3m. Pricing is from R75 for 6 lines, R85 for 8, R95 for 10 and R110 for 12 lines. Price is per metre. Free standing fencing costs from R180 per metre.

Poorly designed or badly maintained electric fences can create sufficient electromagnetic interference to cause problems for nearby telephone, radio, and television reception – this has been a particular problem for dial-up Internet users in some rural areas.Too much foliage touching the electric wires drains the power to earth. Always keep your electric fence wires free from foliage.

The maximum voltage allowed by law is 10,000 volts and the average setting on the energiser is between 7,000 and 11,000 volts to allow for fluctuations. This is more than sufficient to deter any unwanted criminals.

Don't forget that there is a regulated authority so you need to deal with a certified installer; or you may have problems with your insurance company and electrical certificate of compliance.

Information was supplied by Peter Reck of Live Wire Electric Fencing 086 000 5555

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