View Full Version : how to run your hotwire underground under a gate?

Nov. 17, 2009, 07:00 PM
I know it's been talked about... so to those who have their hotwire underground to cross fences... how did you do it.. is your insulated wire run through conduit? how deep did you go... please fill me in.

Nov. 17, 2009, 07:10 PM
We put the wire (coated copper) in 3/4" plastic conduit with the ends sealed with watertight connectors and buried it about a foot down under the gate. You can buy all those parts at Lowe's. Silicone spray helps when you are stuffing that wire through the conduit. ;)

Tom King
Nov. 17, 2009, 07:11 PM
Use the underground wire AND put it in conduit. Conduit is cheap. Put it in deeper than you think you need to.


Nov. 17, 2009, 07:13 PM
I don't know about you, but here we add two tall plastic pipes to each side of the gate, wired to the posts there, run the wire up one, across the top to the other and back down to the fence on the other side.
Works even in our very high winds, because the wire over the top doesn't hardly catch the wind.

Now, there was a place or two many years ago, on temporary wheat pasture, where we ran the wire in an old garden hose, laid it on the ground, the ends turned up and taped well and the wire ran thru it.
That worked for a season.

Nov. 17, 2009, 07:32 PM
thanks DW and Tom King. I was thinking of you two as I was trying to describe what I wanted to Mr. C after I ran my electric tape around the top of the paddock.

Nov. 17, 2009, 07:53 PM
We use insulated wire and run it through a length of old garden hose. Crimp the ends and you're got a nice, watertight, very durable run.

As noted, bury it deeper than you think you have to.

If you can't find insulated wire most places (Co-Op, Tractor Supply, etc.) carries an insulating material that goes nicely with heavy gauge aluminum wire.


Nov. 17, 2009, 10:13 PM
Tom King posted a link to the proper wire. But it bears repeating, use the high voltage rated wire. Ordinary electrical wire is only rated to 600 volts. A fence charger puts out 10,000 volts or more.

I used 1/2 black poly water pipe under my gates. The poly pipe is run up the posts. The high voltage wire is sealed at the ends of the poly pipe, and a drip loop is formed to reduce the water running down the hi-volt wire.

Nov. 17, 2009, 10:32 PM
Yes, you can use various shapes of conduit pieces to keep water from running in--sort of an upside-down "U" so the end of the conduit is pointing towards the ground. It means a lot of fiddly pieces and extra parts, but hopefully you'll only be doing the job once, you know? :) If I can remember I'll take some pictures of our setup tomorrow.

Nov. 18, 2009, 01:00 AM
Yes, by all means, use the cable/wire made
for that purpose. You can get rolls as short
as 50 feet and it's not expensive. Your local
Tractor Supply should carry it or any farm supply store that carries electrical fence supplies.

Nov. 18, 2009, 07:02 AM
We ran ours through a length of garden hose. Worked a charm and cheap.

Nov. 18, 2009, 07:22 AM
We ran conduit down the post then under the gate and back up the post. We kept the hot tape and didn't use the wire like Tom has. Is that not kosher? Should we switch it out to that wire instead?

Nov. 18, 2009, 01:09 PM
I am writing an article on fence repair/maintenance and would love to talk to anyone who has tips, suggestions.

Tom King
Nov. 18, 2009, 05:32 PM
I use conduit now because over the years we've had a couple of "blowouts" on the insulation even when using the heaviest underground fence wire I could find. They were probably from lightning strikes since it's a pretty short jump to ground through the insulation. The conduit makes it easy to change with no digging required. Pull the new wire through with the old wire or use a fish tape. Having to dig the wire up is WAY more problem than the few bucks spent on conduit.

I use 1/2" gray plastic conduit and the large radius 90 degree bends to turn the conduit up the sides of the gate posts. I don't go very high just because of the way it looks, and run the insulated wire up to where it joins the wire (no. 9 aluminum), make the connections with split bolts, and seal the ends of the conduit with polyuurethane caulking (sticks better than silcone). Don't drive staples tight at all on the insulated wire to hold it in place.

Conduit is really cheap at Lowes and Home Depot. Split bolts, also available in the box stores, are not so cheap but I've never had a bad connection or had to redo one.

Nov. 18, 2009, 07:29 PM
Split bolts are the greatest--found a gigantic hoard of them in my brother's tool box (he used to be an electrician) and made off with them with his permission--probably 100 of them. Buggers are indispensable but pricey!

Jan. 19, 2013, 09:50 PM
Here is a detailed tutorial on how to run a hot wire under a gate. LOTS of pics and easy to follow! :)


Tom King
Jan. 19, 2013, 10:40 PM
That's not the right kind of wire to run through the "conduit". Use the heavy insulated kind made for direct burial underground, but pull it through some sort of conduit so you can change it if you need to without digging it up.

Also, that's not buried anything like deep enough for a horse gate. Over years, the ground under gates takes a beating.

I can't think of anything I use silicone caulking on these days, other than around tubs and showers. Urethanes these days stick much better, and last much longer. You can find a good urethane caulking in Home Depot, but not where all the other caulking is. Look in the aisle where bags of concrete are. Get Sikaflex Construction Adhesive. It's where the crack repair, chimney caulking, and other caulking tubes of such stuff are in the concrete aisle.

Jan. 20, 2013, 10:41 AM
Tom King is right about needing to bury it deeper for horses....I did this same thing for where my horses are and yes I buried the garden hose about 1 1/2-2 ft deep. Using conduit is also another good idea to use to string the hot wire through, but at the time I was so poor that all I could afford to use was an old garden hose for an underground 'insulator'. All I know is it's been 7 years and my hotwire is still going strong with my cheap little garden hose 'insulator'...Necessity is the mother of invention! ;)

Tom King
Jan. 20, 2013, 12:05 PM
I don't see anything wrong with using an old garden hose, if you have one that's otherwise useless anyway, but the main idea for using conduit in the first place is to make it easy to pull a new wire if one shorts out, without having to dig the whole thing back up. If the hose kinks on the bends up, it won't be too easy to pull a new wire with the old one.

plastic conduit is cheap: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100122861/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=conduit+1%2F2%22+pvc&storeId=10051

you need a buck twenty worth of these too: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100404151/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=1%2F2+in.+pvc+electrical+conduit+fittings&storeId=10051&superSkuId=202891057

Jan. 20, 2013, 12:25 PM
Good point Tom! If and when I ever need to replace my hotwire, I'll have to try the conduit! ;)

Jan. 20, 2013, 04:04 PM
and you resurrected a thread from FOUR years ago why? Ohhhh, yeah, because you are promoting your own website.... looks like round about advertising to me... better becareful! That's a No No under the terms of service.

Jan. 20, 2013, 04:57 PM
and you resurrected a thread from FOUR years ago why? Ohhhh, yeah, because you are promoting your own website.... looks like round about advertising to me... better becareful! That's a No No under the terms of service.

I don't see a posting issue. Tee is not selling anything, just a link to her/his fence installation.

I do have an issue with her wire choice. Looks like it's depending on the hose for insulation. That's not how I would do it. The direct burial high voltage wire is needed to avoid a ground fault or short. The hose, pipe or conduit is needed in case of replacement . If the wire fails, it's easy to tie the new wire to the old and pull new wire using the old wire. Burying the wire makes this impossible.

Jan. 21, 2013, 01:36 PM
I apologize if I offended anyone, that wasn't my intention.

I stumbled across this topic and knew how hard it was for me to find any info on the subject. Maybe I do have the wrong kind of wire or piping on my website, but at the time I couldn't find any info on this subject so I simply just had to figure it all out myself, trial and error...and the funny thing is, it all worked out! That hotwire is still going strong after years! (even with the 'wrong' wire or pipe) Just simply sharing my experience to help others. I know it would have been a lot easier if someone had left their webpage for me to see...or any tips back when I needed it. That's why i ended up blogging about it in the first place, to help others...just figured I could save someone the time and trouble it took me to figure out.

You are right, I don't sell anything on my webpage....it's simply a fun 'anyone can do' website, for those who love the country, want to be creative, and to help each other. As to why I am a member of this website? I am also a horse enthusiast. If you've visited my web page, the many pics of my babies are all over my 'about me' page ;) God Bless