Does Electric Fence Ground Wire need to be Insulated

Electric fence grounding is the most crucial component of the circuit. Most electric fence issues faced in daily life are due to poor grounding.

Ground wires are the return path of the fence circuit. It carries current from the ground rods and back to the energizer.

Insulation protects ground wires from short circuits, hence preventing power loss from the fence circuit.

There are two types of ground wires:

  1. The ground wire that connects the ground rods together, the ground rods to the energizer & the energizer to the ground strand in your fence.
  2. Ground strands are installed parallel to the live strands in a hot/ground electric fence.

Below, we’ve explained the concept in very easy terms:

Does the electric fence ground wire need to be insulated?

Yes. The wires connecting the ground rods to each other, the energizer’s ground terminal to the ground rods, and the ground strands in the fence should also be insulated.

The ground wires & rods are the return path of the circuit and take the current back to the energizer when someone touches the fence.

Insulation keeps the ground wires from touching(short circuit) the earth, grass, metal posts, wires, or anything that can drain the charges(current), returning back to the energizer.

The more current return to the energizer makes your electric fence powerful.

That’s why the ground wires & any wire connected to energizers should be insulated & thicker than the fence strands.

If you have used thin wire for grounding, it’s the most common reason why electric fence ground wires are always hot.

Ground strands in the Hot-Ground electric fence:

However, if you’ve installed ground fence strands parallel to live strands, they must be bare conductor wires so that anyone touching them receives shocks.

It’s because a hot-ground electric fence delivers a shock when someone touches both live & ground strands together.

So if ground strands are insulated, the animal or human can’t touch the live & ground strands together. The circuit will remain incomplete, and no shock will be delivered.


  1. Ground rods and wires made of excellent conductors ensure better current conductivity.
  2. You can also use battery jumper cables(6 gauge) for connecting the energizer terminals.
  3. To connect ground rods, use highly conductive ground rod clamps.

What if electric fence ground wires are not insulated?

If the grounding wires are not insulated(bare), anything touching them will drain some power, such as the earth’s surface, a wire, a metal post, or even grass.

The current that must reach back to the energizer will leak into the ground, and the fence circuit continuously loses its power.

As you know, ground rods are buried up to the ground surface. The wires connecting the ground rods will surely touch the earth’s surface and grass nearby. If they are not insulated, the current will lose massively from the fence.

Same as if the wire connecting the energizer’s live terminal to the live fence strands is not insulated, a short circuit will make your fence weak.

Hence, if the wire is not insulated, it’ll leak current into anything touching it, i.e., grass, soil, or any wire.

How does electric fence grounding work?

Ground wires connect:

  1. The fence energizer’s ground terminal to rods.
  2. Ground stakes(rods) to each other.
  3. Energizer to ground strands if you’ve installed a hot-ground electric fence(live/ground strands).

When someone gets in contact with the fence wire & earth, the circuit gets complete. Earth(soil), ground rods & wires are part of grounding.

Current escapes into the earth & due to moisture; electrons travel toward the ground rods and reach back to the energizer via ground wire, completing the circuit(loop).

More current gets back to the energizer and increases your fence power.

So, how much you keep your fence protected from short circuits, your fence will be more effective.


All the wires except the fence strands should be insulated, low gauge(5,6 gauge), and made of an excellent conductor, like copper.

How to Install Electric Fence Grounding

Ground wire takes current from rods to the energizer and completes the circuit. Ground rods

Follow Sep-by-Steps

Step 1: Install ground rod:

  1. Install 3 feet galvanized ground rods per joule output of fence charger. For example, if your energizer outputs
  2. 6 joules; install at least 18 feet of ground rods.
  3. The first ground rod must be within 20 feet radius of the energizer.
  4. Each ground rod should be 6-8 feet long and 10 feet apart from each other.
  5. Leave a few inches out of the ground.

Step 2: Install ground rod clamps over the rods:

  1. Buy highly conductive steel or copper ground rod clamps.
  2. Unscrew the clamp and slide it over the ground rod.
  3. Take a highly insulated & excellent conductive wire i.e. 10-14 gauge wire rated for 20KV.
  4. Pass the bare end of the wire through the ground rod clamp and screw the bolt again.
  5. Similarly, connect all the ground rods together.
  6. At last, connect the ground rod nearest to the energizer to the ground terminal.

Tip: All wires except the electric fence strand must be insulated.

Grounding in Hot-Ground electric fence

How does a Hot-Ground electric fence work?

In dry or rocky soil, there is low moisture in the soil, which results in poor current conductivity. Hot/Ground electric fence works such that parallel fence strands are divided into ground & live.

They are insulated from each other & connected to energizer ground & live terminals. When someone touches both live & ground strands, they receive shocks as the circuit completes.

Instead of leaking into the soil through the human/body, maximum current returns back to the energizer via ground strands.

Steps to install Hot/Ground electric fence:

  1. Install all fence strands separately. Ground & live strands will be parallel.
  2. Connect all the live strands together and ground strands together. Keep the live & ground strands insulated from each other.
  3. At last, connect the energizer’s live terminal to live strands in the fence using highly insulated and conductive wire.
  4. Connect the charger’s ground terminal to the ground strands in the fence with the same insulated(6 gauge copper).
  5. You can also install a ground rod to collect the remaining charge that leaks into the ground.

A hot/ground electric fence circuit is helpful for grounding in dry, rocky, or snow-covered land where conductivity is very low in the soil.


The live wire carries current from the energizer’s live terminal to the fence wires(strands).

Ground wires take current back to the energizer through the ground rods.

Use a thick & highly conductive wire for grounding because thin or home-used wires will be overheated due to currently more than capacity.

Insulation will prevent short circuits, and more current/voltage will return to the energizer, increasing the fence power.

Same as the live wire carrying current from the energizer +ve/live terminal to the fence must be insulated.

Related Guide:

1 thought on “Does Electric Fence Ground Wire need to be Insulated”

  1. Excellent items from you, man. I’ve take into account your stuff
    prior to and you’re simply too great. I actually like what you have bought here, certainly like what you’re stating and the
    way through which you are saying it. You are making it enjoyable and you continue to care for to stay it sensible.

    I can not wait to read far more from you.
    This is really a tremendous website.


Leave a Comment