How do you guys handle invisible fence wires?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by justgeorge, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. justgeorge

    justgeorge LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 353

    Title says it all. I've installed a couple of houses that had invisible dog fences and it was a PITA. Dig down, find the wire, get my pipe under the wire which of course interupts the vibratory plow pull. I'm starting a new job tomorrow that has an invisible fence and this one I'm thinking dig down, find the wire, CUT the wire, make my pull, then splice the wire. I'll call the dog fence company in the morning to find out if there is anything special needed for the wire or splice connection.

    How do you guys handle these?

  2. DGI

    DGI LawnSite Member
    from SE Mich
    Messages: 173

    I always ask the customers if they have one, specifically, while asking about other buried lines. Factoring the price into the bid usually means a pretty big bump. These are tough jobs to get because others will not consider them in their price and suffer later.

    Generally, you can mostly avoid them by pulling wide and then digging under. A huge pain.
  3. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    LOL, I was working part time on a golfcourse and we were trenching behind some homes to put in some new irrigation. We were right on the line between fairway and lawn and obviously that's the same line the hidden fence guy used! Was about half way done and noticed the wire in pieces and dragging along behind the trencher. We just kept going and took it out the whole distance! OOPS! Ended up being just like 16 gague wire with double thick insulation. We just spliced in some 14 Ga. sprinkler wire and dropped it back in the trench as we backfilled. As far as I know the superintendent asked the homeowner if it was working ok and evidently it was fine.
  4. MikeK

    MikeK LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    Invisible fences are difficult, if not impossible to avoid. Just digging down to find the wire will result in a cut in the wire. I tell all customers with an invisible fence that they are responsible for the repair and that the best option is just to run a new wire. I believe most companies charge around 300$ to run a new wire. Taking this approach allows me to keep my bids as low as possible to the homeowner and most homeowners are Ok with it
  5. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    Had a coworker do a jig after cutting into an electric fence wire. Actually cutting it didn't do anything, but when he picked up the wire the dumb guy got nailed big time. He was only several feet from the fence transformer and I know that must have hurt. Maybe it knocked some sense into him, eh?
  6. JeffY

    JeffY LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    It's in our contract that if there is Invisibile Fence in the yard, that we are not responsible for any damages to it. The only thing we will repair is if it's in open view, in other words, we won't go digging around for the other end if both ends are not visible. We've wasted entirely too much time going around repairing them and having to come back to repair them. The homeowner understands the situation as we're putting something i8 inches underground is obviously going to hit something barely 1 inch underground.
  7. Markf

    Markf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 406

    I wish you guys had installed the irrigation systems on the homes we have bed edge for. I have cut thru three lines at different homes from edging with a Brown edger. I only go down about three inches. The installer had laid the pipe about 2" below the surface. I assume a good installer takes into consideration this fact when laying pipe near a foundation.
  8. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    Mark, one of the unfortunate realities of this area is that many places are sitting on solid volcanic basalt. Excavation is big business, with big toys, often with explosives, and big bucks. Needless to say, not everything gets planted very deep, and this obviously includes invisible fences, but also pvc lines, cables, plants... you name it.

    I wouldn't think that accidently cutting through an invisible fence line would be the end of the world. It's a small gauge, single strand of wire, and acts just as the antenna for the remote transmitter. We're talking very low power stuff, hence no FCC license required. If the wire is cut, just splice it back together securely, and hopefully in a way where the elements don't get to it quickly... or have Joe Homeowner do it.
  9. Markf

    Markf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 406

    Dog wires don't bother me. I installed my own dog fence. Trust me, I have cut it. Its those damn irrigation pipes at the surface. I tell the client we are not responsible, however, I feel guilty and end up repairing it. $5 in parts and off we go. It has generated good will from the client. So in the long run it is worth it.
  10. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,874

    Those shallow pipes may not have started out so shallow. Without a covering of grass roots, the effects of frost and heave can push pipes up toward the surface.

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