Winterizing Your Electric Fence
Electric fencing, using an earth ground system, can not be as effective in the winter months when the ground is frozen and snow covered. This is because frozen soil doesn’t conduct electricity as well as moist soil. If there is a lot of snow covering the ground, the snow acts as an insulator, preventing the animal from making contact with the earth which connects to the grounding system and thus completes the circuit.
In some states, some electric fences are not hooked up and operating in the winter months. The earth is frozen several feet deep and the livestock are standing on snow banks higher than the top wire of the fence!
There is a way to electrify fences in the winter months (although in snowy regions, it’s tough), by using a “hot/ground” system rather than the traditional earth ground system.
A “hot/ground” system is installed by running parallel wires on the fence. 1 wire is electrified or “hot”, and the other wire is connected to the ground terminal. If an animal contacts both the hot and ground wires simultaneously, the animal gets a shock. The ground wire transmits the electricity back to the fencer rather than relying on the soil alone to conduct the electricity. This type of system is also used in rocky or arid soil regions where subsoil moisture is scarce. It is the best way to build an electric fence in the desert or in rocky soil.