Does Electric Fence Ground Wire Need to Be INSULATED?

Underground fences, also called electric fences, can be a great alternative to installing a physical fence.

They can move with you and are significantly more affordable and easier to install than a privacy or chain link fence. 

But does electric fence ground wire need to be insulated?

To answer this in one word, yes. However, the manufacturer may already do this before they sell you the product. 

Before you begin the process of installing your new fence, you should take the time to make sure your wire is insulated and that there are no breaks in the insulation.

Underground Fences and Insulation

does electric fence ground wire need to be insulated
Underground fence wire should be insulated. Most manufacturers will pre-insulate the wire, but always check before burying.

The wire on your invisible fence for dogs should be insulated before you bury it.

Thankfully, manufacturers of these systems also know that the wires need to be insulated.

This means that they will nearly always make sure that the wire is pre-insulated when you buy the fence system.

It’s much easier for them to do it when they make the product than to ask a customer to do it when they buy the fence.

However, it’s always best to look over the cable that will be buried beforehand by checking for imperfections in the wire.

Any bumps, breaks, or cracks in the insulation will need to be fixed before you set up the wireless fence

Fixing a Broken Wire

make sure the fence isn't connected to electricity
When fixing a broken wire, make sure there is no electricity running through the wire.

Before you even think about touching a wire that might be broken, please make sure it is never, ever plugged in.

If it is plugged in and your skin comes into contact with the copper wire, you are in great danger of being electrocuted. 

Underground fences shouldn’t have the voltage to severely hurt or kill you, but that doesn’t mean they can’t cause other possible problems for you.

Once you have made sure that the system does not have any power connected to the wire, you are safe to start to check for possible breaks.

If you come across a crack or break in the insulation, it is time to fix it.

Fixing Insulation

It’s a simple process to fix, but there are a couple of steps to doing this.

  1. Slide a heat shrinking tube over the damaged part of the insulation
  1. Turn a blow dryer on and point it at the heat shrinking tube until it is secure around the broken part.
  1. Wrap the repaired section and up to half an inch of good wire in electrical tape.

That’s all you have to do to fix a broken bit of insulation!

If the break is small enough, you may not need the heat shrinking tube at all, as it may be fine to just wrap the wire in electrical tape.

Fixing A Wire

  1. If the copper wire itself is damaged, you will need a piece of new wire to splice into the old wire. You can use leftover wire that came from the underground fence.
  1. First, take wire strippers (not a knife or scissors) and cut about an inch off of the wire cover on all of the ends so you can see the wire itself. Do this on both ends of the broken wire and both ends of the wire you are splicing in.
  1. Next, twist the end of the old wire together with one end of the new one until they are secure.
  1. Then, tie a knot as close as you can to the twist to secure it more.
  1. After that, you will wrap all of the exposed wire in electrical tape.
  1. Repeat steps 2-4 with the other broken piece and the other end of the new wire.

Of course, if you aren’t comfortable handling wires like this, you can always call a professional electrician and have them fix it.

Though that will cost you more time and money than fixing it yourself, having a professional electrician fix it can be worth it. 

For a visual on how to do this, check out this video:

What is Wire Insulation?

Wire insulation is a protective and non-conductive material that surrounds an electric wire.

This stops the electricity in the wires from mixing with other open wires while also protecting the wire from damage. 

There are several different types of insulation, some more effective than others with the most common types of insulation being plastic, rubber, and fluoropolymer.

Each type has its different uses, but all of them are made out of materials that electricity cannot flow through

Importance of Insulation

insulation can prevent wires from getting damaged
Wire insulation prevents electricity leakage, breakage, and helps the wire last longer once it’s buried.

You may be wondering why an electric fence needs to be insulated if, after all, the wires are just going to be buried. 

Leaking Electricity

Non-insulated wires can more easily be damaged, resulting in a fence that doesn’t work.

Insulation also helps to prevent leakage in electricity as leaking electricity can be bad for a couple of reasons. 

  • First, it is very dangerous for there to be rogue electric currents flowing.

It does not matter if the electricity is under or above ground, non-insulated wires can cause fire, bodily harm, or even a short circuit. 

It is especially dangerous if there are metal pipes, other wires, or water near the open wire.

All of those hazards can conduct electricity and can cause more problems.

  • A leak in electricity can also make your electric bill rise, causing a large jump if the leak is big.

Spending extra money for no real reason isn’t something anyone wants to do.  

Damaged Wires

Unprotected wires can be a problem outside of just possibly leaking electricity.

Unprotected wires can also be damaged, usually by being crushed or corroded by rain, excessive heat or cold, or even chemicals. 

Even wires that are underground can be crushed by the weight of the earth that is above them. Especially if something gets placed on top of the wire by accident.

Damage to unprotected wires can lead to your fence not working in the future.

Properly insulated wires, on the other hand, will protect the cables running through them, keeping you and your family safe.

Insulation also can be helpful because different wires are usually covered in different colors of insulation, so you can keep track of which one is which. 


Does electric fence ground wire need to be insulated?

Yes. A properly insulated wire is very important to ensuring a working electric dog fence keeps working.

Luckily, companies know this and are sure to insulate their products before sending them home with you. 

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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