Electric fences have become more prevalent in the South African suburb, but are they really worth it? Too often you hear the snap and crackle of a neighbour’s fence or fence connected alarms that never seem to stop blaring at all hours. Aside from the irritation factor, the electric fence can waste a lot of electrical energy if the installation is not done and maintained properly.
 
If the electric fence installation was done correctly, the crackling of an electrical arc will not be heard at all. On the other hand, fences installed close to trees or large shrubs, need to be checked regularly as the plants can be the cause of problems with the fence. If there is cats on the premises, make  allowance for them at other places to have an area high up where they can feel safe away from the fence.
 
The energy of the pulse generated by the electric fence energizer is not fatal to a normal person, but does give a nasty shock when touched. These electric wires need to installed such that children and domestic animals cannot touch it, since the pulse can be harmful to them.
 
Electric fences for dogs are available to keep the animals away from certain areas. These fences produce much less energy and the pulses are not harmful to humans. Dogs have the tendency to smell first, and with a very sensitive nose area, will quickly learn to avoid the area surrounded by the electric fence. These fences are not high, so care must be taken not to teach the animal to jump across, otherwise the fence will not achieve its objective.
 
Electric fences are not difficult to install, and some DIY options are available. However, care must be exercised when doing such an installation to ensure that safety precautions and the manufacturer’s instructions are followed to the letter. In South Africa the installation must be safe under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The electric fence, including its energizer and installation, must comply with the requirements as set out in the national standard SANS 10222-3 and the installation must be certified by a person authorised to do so.