How to Install a Polytape Electric Fence

By Contributing Writer

Easy to install, polytape electric fences last as long as mesh fencing but are less expensive. Polytape electric fences can be customized to fit your needs. For large pastures or other areas without electricity, you might use a solar charger. Line posts can be made of wood, plastic or steel. You can buy plastic sleeves to fit over your posts to make them more attractive. The electric shock does not permanently injure, but it does teach the animal to avoid and respect the fence.

Installing a Polytape Electric Fence

Install pressure-treated wood posts, at least 5 inches in diameter, as gate ends, corner posts and at the top and bottom of steep hills. The posts should be driven at least 3 feet into the ground.

You may use steel T-posts, wood posts with a diameter of at least 5 inches or plastic posts specifically made to be used with polytape as line posts. Space line posts 8 to 16 feet apart and to the manufactures recommended depth. To ensure that the line posts are the same height, install a post in the middle of the fence line, run the string from the top of that post to where the next post is to be set. Make sure the posts are perpendicular to the ground. The posts should be high enough that the top strand of the polytape is just above chest height on your tallest horse and 4 inches from the top of the post.

Attach tensioners to the gate and corner posts. When the polytape roll runs out, use tensioners to attach the end to a new roll of polytape. Space the tensioners so that you will use five strands of polytape: the top three spaced 12 inches apart; and the bottom two spaced 18 inches apart, with the lowest strand 18 inches from the ground.

Attach insulators to line posts according to the manufacturer's directions for the type of post you are using. Insulators will snap onto most steel posts, but will need to be attached using screws or brackets to wooden and plastic posts. The insulators will use the same spacing as the tensioners.

Following manufacturer's directions, attach one end of the polytape to a tensioner on a gate or corner post.

Run the polytape through the insulators on the line posts. Do not close insulators yet.

Attach the polytape to a second tensioner on a second post. Do not tighten.

Go back to the insulator closest to the first tensioner. Pull the polytape taut with one hand while closing the insulator with the other. Go down the fence line, closing the insulators while keeping the polytape tight. Do this for each fence line (from corner post to corner post and gate-end post to corner post).

Place electric fence chargers in a covered location or outbuilding with electricity. Solar fence chargers need to be placed where they will receive at least 12 hours of direct sunlight. Follow the manufacturer's directions when setting up the fence charger. Do not plug in yet.

You will need to install ground rods to complete the electrical circuit. If you do not, your horse will not receive a shock when he touches the fence. Choose an out-of-the-way spot between the charger and the fence. Dig a trench 20-feet-long and 4-to-6-inches deep. The trench needs to be a distance of 10 to 20 feet from the polytape. Drive two of the galvanized rods at either end. Drive the other rod in the middle. The top 2 to 3 inches of the rods should be exposed.

Attach the rods to each other using insulated cable and ground rod clamps. Attach the insulated cable to the negative lead on the charger. This completes the circuit.

Attach the positive lead of the charger to the fence using an insulated cable.

Following the manufacturer's instructions, install a cut-off switch between the insulated cable and the fence connector. A cut-off switch installed here will allow you to turn off the fence without having to turn off the fence charger.