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How to Put a Hot Wire on a Chain-Link Fence

Cecilia Harsch

A hot wire on an electric fence doesn’t necessarily confine pets or livestock within the perimeter of the fence. Rather, it deters them and makes them think twice before attempting to break free.

Add a hot wire to your fence to help confine your pets.


Check with your city or municipality for warning sign requirements.

Putting a hot wire on a chain-link fence teaches the animal to respect the fence and stop pushing against, digging under or going over it. The hot wire can also help keep your animals from damaging the chain-link fence.

  1. Measure the length of your chain-link fence for the length of hot wire and for sizing the hot wire charger. Charger manufacturers use either acreage or miles to identify charger sizes.

  2. Position your hot wire charger in an area protected overhead from inclement weather, such as a covered porch or in a garage. In such an area drill two small holes in the exterior wall to pass the hot wire and the ground wire through. Use a 1/2-inch masonry or wood drill bit to make holes through the wall.

  3. Drive a 6-foot copper ground rod into the ground next to an exterior wall, leaving at least 4 inches above the ground. Use a rubber mallet or a metal fence post driver to drive the ground rod. Placing the ground wire next to the exterior wall reduces the chance of tripping over the rod or wire.

  4. Slide a wire ground clamp over the top of the copper ground rod. Tighten the two clamping screws to secure the clamp on the bar.

  5. Measure for a length of 14-gauge solid green electrical wire from the green, ground or negative terminal on the charger. Remove 1/2 inch of green insulation off each end of the wire, using the wire strippers.

  6. Wrap the green ground wire around the terminal on the charger. Twist the terminal knob on the charger clockwise to tighten, securing the wire to the charger. Slide the opposite end of the green wire through the wire opening on the ground clamp. Tighten the screw on the clamp to secure the wire to the ground rod.

  7. Snap a plastic chain-link hot wire insulator onto your chain-link fence about every 10 feet. Plastic insulators snap onto a square of fencing created by the chain-link wires. Choose a height for your hot wire, depending on what you are trying to deter--for example, along the bottom for a dog that digs under fences and at the top for livestock or dogs trying to jump fences.

  8. Run 17-gauge hot wire from your charger and to each insulator along the chain-link fence. Wrap the hot wire around the black, red or positive terminal on the charger. Tighten the terminal to secure the hot wire. Plug the charger into a wall outlet and turn on the charger.