Interference from electric fences | ACMA

Interference from electric fences

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Do electric fences cause interference to TV and Radio reception?

Normally electric fences do not cause interference if they are installed and maintained properly.  Electric fences are high maintenance devices. Poorly maintained fences can lead to reduced effectiveness, and may cause interference to broadcast signals. It may affect your TV and radio reception or your neighbour’s reception. In some situation it may even affect other radiocommunication services, such as amateur radio.

Wide band noise generated by an electric arc in the fence line is the common source of interference to broadcast reception. Bad joints, leaky insulators and overgrown vegetations are the main culprits for causing interference.

To locate arcing caused by leakage, bad joints, broken wires or faulty insulators, walk the fence line with a transistor radio tuned off station on the AM band on high volume. The clicking will get louder as the fault is approached.

Installing electric fences:

When you are planning to install an electric fence, consider to seek assistance from the professionals to avoid unnecessary troubles. Your electric fence products manufacturer or supplier will be a good avenue for advice. Few tips before you start building your fence:

  • The fence earth system must be away from the household supply, safety earth and buried water pipes.
  • The fence earth must not connect to the mains supply safety earth or to the water supply pipes.
  • The mains power supplying plugs and sockets for the energiser must be in good working order with no loose connections.
  • The energiser earth cable must not touch buildings, which can act as a broadcast aerial. Use double insulated (HVC) cable or run the wire to earth using insulators.
  • The energiser's ground system should be at least 10m away from buried telephone wires.
  • Avoid running the electric fence line parallel to power or telephone lines.
  • Use only top quality insulators. Sparking inside cracked or poor quality insulators cause interference.

 Maintenance tips after you build your fence:

  • Complete periodical visual inspections looking for broken wires, cracked insulators, corroded hooks and overgrown vegetation which are touching the wires.
  • Splice the broken wires properly, do not just hand twist.
  • Tighten any loose wires  
  • Do not increase the size of the fence energizer to overcome poor fence performance. Instead fix the faults on the fence.

    Note: Care should be taken to turn off an electric fence before you carry out any maintenance. 

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) may take regulatory actions under the Radiocommunications Act 1992 for causing substantial interference to radiocommunications including broadcast services. The ACMA encourages the property owners to take voluntary measures to avoid and resolve interference from their electric fences without intervention of the ACMA. 

Last updated: 18 February 2019