Electric Fence Ground in Well?

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Hi, This is my first post to this forum. I am installing electric wire on my cedar split rail fence to keep out coyotes and keep in my German Shepherd dog. I'll have goats and chickens on the property. The problem I have is that I cannot drive the ground rods the recommended six to eight feet into my sand and rock soil. Actually, can't get further down than two feet without hitting rock layer. My ex-husband advised me to drop one of the ground rods into my 30 foot abandoned water well (with the lead out cable attached). The well is capped except for a small opening and the water is probably only a few feet deep. Does anyone know if this is a good idea?

-- Donna Jones (oakleaf@digitex.net), February 06, 2001


Donna,Is the well casing metal?If so then just use it as your ground.It is going to be much deeper than 8 feet.You may be able to drive the grounding rod beside the well casing if it is not metal because the hole drilling or digging would have broken up any rock that would prevent you from driving the ground rod.How deep must you dig to reach consistanly damp soil?you may not actually need to drive the rod as deep as 8-10 feet if it can hit wet conductive soil at a more shallow depth.People do throw conductors down wells and such but I don't think it is a good idea.It will rust away.It could contaminate the well.It may lodge and prevent you from using the well at a later date.Old wells have a way of seeping cotaminates into your "good" well. Good Luck

-- Gregory J Smith (gsmith@tricountyi.net), February 06, 2001.

You don't say where you live, so the extent of the coyote problem is unknown. However, the electric fence may keep the dog inside, but it will not keep the coyotes out if they are like the ones we have out West. If your dog is territorial enough, it should keep the coyotes away if allowed too free roam (look out though, a pair of hungry coyotes usually can play hell with a large dog).

Like mentioned above, if your soil is moist enough, you may be able just to bury the ground rod in a trench instead of driving it.

-- Lynn Goltz (lynngoltz@aol.com), February 06, 2001.

You can overcome this problem by making sure the ground rods you do have in the ground stay moist. Just pour buckets of water on them, and keep the ground around them wet. The fence does not work if the ground rod is in dry soil, that's one of the reasons to put it so deep. I have 3 ground rods in line from the solar elect. fence box, and I keep them wet in the summer.

-- Cindy in Ky (solidrockranch@hotmail.com), February 06, 2001.

Donna! Rules are made to be broken--ain't they! Of course you can use the well/water for a ground. Regarding the ground rod being 8 ft deep is a good deal if it can be done. It'll work well if it's not that deep. You could also ground to your water lines [if they're not plastic] tie into the electrical system ground on the meter pole. A bare ground wire runs down the OUTSIDE of the pole. Wrap your ground wire around it or get a split bolt connector. I wouldn't be too concerned about having it "just right" according to their directions. Do the best you can and have a try to see how well it works. I doubt if it'll help turn the coyotes or the dog. If they want over they'll get over. hoot. Matt.24:44

-- hoot (hoot@pcinetwork.com), February 06, 2001.

Good heavens, I've never put the ground rod in more than 2 feet and had no problems. This has worked even in the desert, with hardly any rain in the area, and dynamite is used in the rocky earth for big fencing jobs! My solar fencer covers 25 miles and has done a good job.

-- ~Rogo (rogo2020@yahoo.com), February 07, 2001.

I assume a fence to be effective for canines must have several wires? You could run a earth wire between the first and second wires and any critter who pokes her nose between the wires will never try it again. Just run the wire but fix it to each post(no insulator) and attach one end to the earthing rod. This is arrangement is most effective when the posts are conductive but in your case it might be best to ground the wire, as best you can, at every post.

-- john hill (john@cnd.co.nz), February 07, 2001.

This is from "McGraw-Hill's National Electrical Code Handbook," under the section considering grounding: "The basic rule of Sec. 250-83(c) calls for a ground rod to be driven straight down into the earth, with at least 8 ft. of its length in the ground (in contact with soil). If rock bottom is hit before the rod is 8 ft. into the earth, it is permissible to drive it into the ground at an angle- not over 45 degrees from the vertical- to have at least 8 ft. of its length in the ground. However, if rock bottom is so shallow that it is not possible to get 8 ft. of the rod in the earth at a 45 degree angle, then it is necessary to dig a two- and-a-half ft. deep trench and lay the rod horizontally in the trench." -p.443

-- Dave Wilusz (wiluszdj@yahoo.com), February 07, 2001.

Briefly, yes. It will work. GL!

-- Brad (homefixer@SacoRiver.net), February 12, 2001.

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