High tensile, smooth wire electric fencing is a fast and affordable alternative to conventional, more permanent fencing methods. Used properly, electric fencing can save you thousands of dollars and hours of maintenance time. Here are some common mistakes to avoid.

* Avoid using different types of metals. For example, when you connect steel wire to copper, electrolysis occurs and the metal corrodes resulting in poor connection and weak shocking power.

* Barbed wire can't be energized very efficiently and it's dangerous to animals because they could get zapped and then get trapped in the wire.

* Do not put fence posts too close together. Fifty-feet spacing on flat land is often too close. Fewer posts-about 80 to 100 feet-will allow animals to run into the fence without breaking all the insulators or knocking post out of the ground because the fence has more elasticity.

* Avoid building new electric fences too close to existing fences.

* Choose the right size wire for the length of your fence and the power of your fence charger.

* Don't skimp on an inadequate fence energizer. Smooth wire fences are worthless at containing cattle unless they carry a pretty good bite. As a rule of thumb, you will need 1 joule of energizer output for every mile of fence.

* Use at least 3 feet of ground rod per joule in your energizer and space rods a minimum of 10 feet apart.

* When buying wire reels, look for spools with flexible sides so they don't easily break if dropped.