How An Earth Stake Works
11 June 2017 | Beth
Electric Fencing works by creating a circuit of electricity. However, the fence itself does not have to be in a circle. You can, in fact have a straight line of electric fencing, if desired! The circuit happens when an animal touches the live wire. The electricity runs from the fence, through the animal, into the ground, to the earth stake. If you do not have an earth stake, your animal will not get a shock. If the animal is not touching the ground, it will also not get a shock.
Some electric fence energisers have a metal stand that pushes into the ground - for example, the Gemini or the DP350 energisers. These metal stands can act as earth stakes. However, if you have a large fence, or if the ground is very dry, you may need to add a second or even a third earth stake. The larger the earth stake the better. You can never have too many earth stakes - although please make sure they are spaced out with at least 3 metres between them.
In very hot weather you can also water your earth stake. If you have a mains energiser that is inside, please make sure the earth stake is outside.
In the UK, the earth stake can be positioned close to the energiser (so long as it is outside) or close to the fence. In more challenging terrain the earth stake should really be close to the fence - but this is rarely necessary in the UK.
If you do have a distance from your electric fence energiser to your earth stake, most people use double insulated lead out wire. This is not standard household wire. It is high voltage wire, with a 1.6mm glavanised core and double insulation, especially designed to conduct the high voltage output from an electric fence energiser. This same wire can also be used to connect your energiser to your fence. Simply strip back the plastic insulation to expose the wire, and wrap the wire around the nut on your earth stake. If this wire needs to travel underground, most people run it through blue water piping or a hose to protect it in conduit.
The earth stake is arguably the most important part of your fence. If your energiser stops working at any point, please check your earth stake and the wires that lead to your earth stake.