How to Make a Hot-Ground Electric Fence

A hot-ground electric fence is helpful in dry or rough ground conditions. Installation is easy and the same as any other type of fence wiring. The only difference is the circuit wiring and grounding.

Grounding is the main component of an electric fence. Ground wires/rods complete the circuits by taking the leaked current back to the energizer.

However, grounding through the ground rods is impossible in dry and rocky earth. Because due to low moisture in the soil charges(current) can’t travel toward the ground rods and back to the energizer and the most charge will be lost.

Hence a hot-ground electric fence, also termed as an electric fence without a ground rod or no-ground electric fence, is the best solution for dry and rough ground conditions.

We can eliminate the need for ground rods by installing live and ground strands parallel and directly connecting them to the energizer.

When someone touches both hot(live) and ground strands, he’ll be shocked because the circuit gets completed.

We’ll explain each important step you’ll go through while installing the hot-ground electric fence.

How Hot-Ground electric fence works?

In a hot-ground electric fence:

The hot-ground electric fence works such that the fence energizer’s live terminal output a voltage pulse (5-12KV) carrying very low amps(10mA-500mA) for .3 milliseconds.

The live and ground fence wire(strands) are installed parallel to each other in the sequence of hot-ground-hot-ground.

All live strands are connected together. Same as all ground strands are connected together. Hot and ground strands are insulated from each other.

When someone touches/rubs against the fence, he gets in contact with the live and ground wires.

The circuit completes, and current flows from the live wire to the body(deliver shock) and travels back to the energizer via the ground strands(grounding).

Ground rods can be additionally installed to improve your electric fence grounding and catch the remaining charge that leaks in the soil.

How to make a hot-ground electric fence?

To install a hot-ground electric fence:

  1. Install fence posts. Install insulators on posts equal to the number of strands at the exact height.
  2. Pass the fence wires through the insulators. Terminate fence strands separately & don’t connect them together.
  3. Live and ground strands are installed parallel to each other in the sequence of hot-ground-hot-ground.
  4. Join all live strands. Same as connecting all ground strands together.
  5. Make sure the live and ground strands are separated (not touching).
  6. Connect the energizer’s live terminal to the live fence strands using a high-quality insulated wire.
  7. Similarly, attach the energizer’s ground terminals to the other set of wires.

After you’ve installed fence posts:

Step 1: Install the fence insulators and wires

Fence wires must be installed closer to each other(6-10 inches), especially for small animals.

Electric fence insulators are ideal to keep fence wires in place & insulate them from touching fence posts.

On the fence posts, mark spots at an exact distance to install post insulators. Ensure the animals can easily approach the hot(live) and ground fence wires.

There are different types of fence insulators available according to the post type, such as T post insulators or wood post insulators.

After installing insulators, start passing wires through the post insulators from a corner of the fence.

After one strand is complete, terminate the wire to the corner post insulators. Simply pass the wire through the ending corner post insulator and knot it back to the fence wire.

If the fence wire spool ends in the way, splice fence wires by making a knot or using crimp sleeves.

Then start the second strand, and complete it. In the same way, install all fence strands separately & don’t connect the fence wires together.

Step 2: Hot-ground electric fence circuit wiring

  1. In a hot-ground electric fence, live and ground strands are installed parallel. In this sequence: one strand is live, then ground, then live and ground.
  2. Connect all live strands together using the same fence wire or highly conductive & insulated wire. Same as connecting all ground wires together.
  3. Make sure that the live and ground fence wires are insulated from each other. In this way, we’ll have two sets of wires.
  4. At last, connect one set of wires(live) to the energizer’s live terminal using a highly conductive and insulated wire. Unscrew the energizer’s terminal, wind the wire around the energizer’s terminal, and tighten the screw. Tie/knot the other end of the wire to the live fence strands.
  5. This way, connect the energizer’s ground terminals to the ground strands using a highly conductive & insulated wire.
  6. Ensure that any fence or energizer wire is not touching ground, grass, or metal. As much as you prevent your electric fence from short circuits, it’ll be more effective.

Step 3: Install electric fence grounding(Optional)

Grounding is the most crucial part of an electric fence. A safe and sound electric fence ground circuit improves your fence power and returns more current to the energizer.

Steps to install electric fence grounding:

  1. Install at least 3 feet of galvanized steel rods per joule output of the fence charger, but more is better in dry ground conditions.
  2. Each ground rod should be 8 feet long and installed at least 10 feet apart.
  3. The first ground rod must be within 20 feet of the fence charger.
  4. In dry soil, you should install ground rods as deep as possible because the deep soil layers have moisture that improves current conductivity.
  5. Installing ground rods at the start of the fence is not compulsory. So you can install ground rods in soft soil and deep ground level.
  6. Use a highly conductive & insulated wire, i.e., 6-10 gauge copper wire to connect ground rods. Place ground rod clamps on the rods. Pass wires through the clamps and screw the bolt.
  7. All wires except the fence strands must be high quality and insulated.
  8. After connecting ground rods together, connect them to the energizer’s ground terminal using a 6-10 gauge insulated copper wire.

If you have installed a hot-ground electric fence, ground strands in the fence directly take the current back to the energizer. So if the ground condition is extremely rough, ground rods won’t be much effective.

Precaution: Finally, ensure that the fence wires are not touching each other or anything, such as grass, other wire, or any metal object. A short circuit will drain power from your fence. Also, any fence wire touching the earth will leak current.

Type 2: All-live electric fence circuit:

In an all-live fence, all fence wires are connected together and then to the energizer live terminal. When someone touches any strands, current passes through the human body, delivers a shock, and leaks into the ground(soil) through the feet.

Current(voltage pulse) travels toward ground rods. Ground rods are connected to the energizer’s ground terminal. Hence current returns to the energizer, and the circuit gets completed.

All live electric fence is useful in moist ground. In the soil, charges(current) travel toward ground rods due to moisture. The soil should be moist for an all-live electric fence circuit, so the current can return to the rods.

Ground rods catch the current from the soil, and take them back to the energizer, increasing your fence power.

The wires used to connect the energizer’s live and ground terminal must be insulated. If the fence wires are shorted, the current will leak from your fence, making it ineffective.

All the electric fence circuit wires must be insulated except the fence strands/wires. Insulation prevents the electric fence from short circuits(current leakage).

Such an electric fencing circuit(all live strands/ground rods) works well in moist soil conditions because current can easily travel toward the ground rods.


Hot-ground electric fence is ideal for dry conditions. Because in dry ground conditions, the current can’t reach back to the ground rods and energizer due to low moisture.

In a hot-ground electric fence, the current will get back to the energizer through the ground strands.

Ensure the fence strands are installed closer so the animal can easily touch both strands(live & ground) and receive a shock.

Use highly insulated wires at electric fence energizer terminals to prevent short circuits(power loss).

If you still find anything difficult, ask us in the comments.

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