How to Install an Electric Fence Gate
When planning your electric fence enclosure, several elements need to be planned well ahead of installation, including:
- The area you’ll be enclosing
- The type of electrified material you’ll be using (fence tape, netting, rope, and wire)
- How many gates you require, how large they are, and where you will place them.
Today, we’re going to focus on the best practices you can use when planning and installing an electric fence gate. The exact process you’ll follow will depend on several different factors, which we’ll also cover.
Is Your Fence Temporary or Permanent?
A temporary electric fence enclosure should use electric fence posts. You should design the enclosure with only one gate at either end of the fence line. This design allows the fence to remain “hot” regardless of whether the gate is open or not. You will only electrify the gate if you have it closed.
For a permanent electric fence, you’ll want to run an electrified (but insulated) cable below the gate entrance. This cable should be placed at least 10 inches underground.
The best electric fence supply companies will have a variety of electric fence products available. You can customize your fence and gates to your property’s specific needs. There are also kits you can purchase to ensure that you get all of the components necessary to build precisely the type of gate you want. You can make a gate that will be compatible with the wire, tape, or rope you used to create your fence.
Anchors, Gates, and Gate Handles
Gates in electric fences provide a space which is, when opened, not electrified. It gives you access into the enclosure. The vast majority of electric fence gates are designed to be live when you latch the gate. However, the gate handles are insulated. This insulation allows the operator to open the gate without being shocked by the electric current.
An anchor for an electric gate is a metal base attached to the post to which the gate is hung and then connected to the central portion of the fence. This, in turn, allows an avenue for the current when the handle is attached.
Attaching and Installing Gate Handles on an Electric Fence Gate
While you’re laying out the blueprint for your new electric fence enclosure, you will need to decide where you’ll position the new gate (or gates). You will also decide how wide you need the gate to be. Take into account any vehicles or significant numbers of animals you may need to pass through the gate at the same time. You don’t want the gate to be so large as to be unwieldy to build or use regularly. But you also want it to be wide enough to be useful for a variety of purposes.
Temporary fence gates generally benefit from the gate being located at the beginning/end of the electrical fence. That way, you don’t have to work around breaking the flow of electricity through the fence. Wooden and metal gate posts (with the appropriate insulators) are both excellent options. Make sure that the posts are installed in a manner that can handle the required tension and frequent opening and closing. Temporary push-in posts are not usually sufficient.
Your handle will be attached to the anchor, and the other end will be connected to a non-live insulator on the opposite post. This setup prevents the fence from shorting if the cord touches the ground. It also reduces the chance of you or your livestock being shocked when the gate is open. By using an insulator at the non-hook end as well, you can also prevent electricity from leaking into the ground from the gate.
Permanent fences follow a similar setup. However, the fence lines are connected with line connectors on both sides of the opening. This setup helps prevent any breaks in the flow of electricity across the gate so that the current around the fence remains stable. Burying insulated cable protects it from damage from heavy traffic, stones, vehicles, or landscaping equipment.
It’s essential not to use the gate itself to transmit the electricity from one side of the opening to the other. While the gate does have a connection, it is weakest at the point of the anchor. This situation can result in the gate remaining live when opened, but the remainder of the fence not being electrified.
We always recommend using the same style of cable, wire, rope, and tape that you used for the fence when designing your gate. That’s because your livestock has learned to respect this style by recognizing it visually. By using the same method for the gate, you’ll avoid confusing your livestock and ensure that they don’t test the gate and see it as a continuation of the fencing.
There is a multitude of different gate handle types. These can vary depending on the wire, rope, and tape with which your fence is constructed. Other handles are also available, depending on connection types. You’ll want to choose a handle that’s designed specifically for the kind of electrified fence that you have. It’s simple enough to find gate handle kits that provide all of the components you need.
You can also find gate handles that vary in other ways, like color, for example. Perhaps you prefer an understated black handle, or maybe you’d prefer safety orange for clear visibility.
The live part of the anchor—the metal portion—features holes into which you can hook the handle of the gate. The holes allow you to connect the handle to the live current. There are different handles available depending on the electric cable option you choose. You can also find different anchors designed to accommodate electrical tape, rope, wire, etc. The far end of the gate cable is attached to an insulator.
Regardless of what style of fence you design, you’ll want to make sure that you plan so that you have the appropriate number and size of gates. That way, you’ll be able to move through your fields (and move your livestock) as necessary.