You just got an underground dog fence and while laying it out you’ve got a problem. How do you get under the driveway? Can you put an underground dog fence in the conduit or will it cancel the signal? How deep can you go?
Yes, in-ground dog fence wire can go through conduit as long as you don’t bury it greater than 6 inches below the soil and no less than a few inches under the driveway or sidewalk. Thicker asphalt and especially concrete will partially block the signal so you’ll need to go more shallow under them to maintain the signal. The soil itself doesn’t block the signal as much as concrete.
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Table of Contents
- Does Metal Conduit Block The Invisible Fence Signal?
- Can You Use Existing Utility Conduits?
- When To Use Conduit
- When To Avoid Conduit
- What Kind Of Conduit To Use
- How Deep Can You Bury Conduit With Your Underground Dog Fence Wire?
- What About Wire In Conduit Under Asphalt Driveways?
- What About Under Concrete Sidewalks?
- When To Use Conduit Under Driveways And Sidewalks
- How To Use Conduit To Drill Under An Existing Driveway Or Sidewalk
Does Metal Conduit Block The Invisible Fence Signal?
According to SportDog, one of the major manufacturers of in-ground dog fences, no, the metal conduit will not block the invisible fence signal. While we prefer using plastic conduit to be safe, according to Sportdog you can run your in-ground fence wire through metal conduit.
Can You Use Existing Utility Conduits?
Yes, if you have a large existing utility conduit that you want to use you may be able to use it. The utility itself won’t block the signal.
However, if you don’t own that utility line and you interfere with their signal or somehow damage it you could be held liable.
In addition, it might be very difficult to run your underground dog fence wire through the existing conduit.
When To Use Conduit
Conduit can be useful to protect your in-ground buried wire. Use it in the following circumstances
- To water drill under a driveway or sidewalk (see instructions further below in the article)
- When you don’t want to cut a surface path through a decorative sidewalk or a cobblestone driveway
- Where you use a lawn edger and the underground wire keeps getting cut. Even small lengths of conduit can protect the wire.
- Any other areas where the line has broken more than once. Be sure to use conduit in conjunction with a good quality waterproof splicing kit like the one below. It adds extra protection against corrosion and accidental breakage.
When To Avoid Conduit
Conduit is extra work to bury and extra cost to buy. In general, you want to use as little of it as possible.
In addition, if you have a break within the conduit it can be quite a mess to repair.
Avoid conduit in the following areas:
- Throughout most of the open yard where you have easy access to bury the wire then access it later to repair if needed.
- Avoid metal conduit when crossing any other utilities especially communication ones (e.g. cable tv line, roadside telecom lines). Make sure you stay at least 5 feet away from these lines if you have to use a conduit. Even the signal from your naked wire itself could interfere with these lines making you liable.
What Kind Of Conduit To Use
You can use either metal or plastic conduit. Since it’ll be buried I always go with plastic. It resists corrosion better and should last longer.
How Deep Can You Bury Conduit With Your Underground Dog Fence Wire?
Bury the wire 3-6″ below the surface. If burying under a thick concrete driveway or sidewalk then stick to the 3″ depth. The concrete may partially block the signal.
Again, according to our expert friends at SportDog, even dirt and driveways won’t block the signal.
Still better to be safe than sorry. Water drilling a conduit under a driveway is a good amount of work. Better to not do it twice!
Plus it’s easier to dig down and repair a broken line in conduit if it’s not as deep.
What About Wire In Conduit Under Asphalt Driveways?
For asphalt, we prefer to run the dog fence line through a surface crack that already exists (see picture below) then patch it up. You’d do this without any conduit.
If you don’t have any cracks and don’t want to cut one with a masonry saw then you could water drill PVC conduit underneath the driveway.
Keep in mind that water drilling could cause the soil to collapse under the driveway while driving over it which could lead to cracks in the future.
Another option is to use the start of the driveway and run the line there where it meets the road. There will always be a small gap there you can use.
You can also do this where it meets the garage but you’d have to bring the dog fence wire way up to the house and your dog wouldn’t be able to freely cross the driveway while wearing their receiver collar.
What About Under Concrete Sidewalks?
For sidewalks, it’s easier to cross them using existing groves. Lay in the wire and cover it with caulk for protection.
If the current groove isn’t wide and deep enough then you can use a masonry saw to cut a new groove. Then lay the wire and caulk it.
What if you have a nice cobblestone sidewalk or one using decorative panels? Again, try and feed the wire through existing grooves.
If that fails use the water drilling method below to dig and install conduit with your dog fence wire underneath it.
When To Use Conduit Under Driveways And Sidewalks
Generally, you’re going to want to hammer drill or water drill under your driveway or sidewalk when you can’t or don’t want to cut a new line through the surface (e.g. cobblestone driveway, decorative sidewalk pavers, don’t want to see the ugly wire or caulk).
How To Use Conduit To Drill Under An Existing Driveway Or Sidewalk
Water Drill Method
If you don’t want to cut through a cobblestone driveway or decorative sidewalk then you’ll need to drill under it.
Our favorite method is water drilling. It’s easier than you think and much easier than hammer drilling.
- Use a chalk line to mark where you want the tunnel to go.
- Dig a small hole on both sides of the driveway
- Get enough PVC pipe to cross the driveway.
- Get a walkway tunnel kit and attach it to the end of the PVC pipe. See the picture below. It uses pressurized water to water drill through the soil. The entire package comes with a water nozzle tip and a hose end.
- Attach the hose to the other end of the PVC pipe using the walkway tunnel kit.
- Turn on the water and begin water drilling under the driveway or walkway. You’ll be pushing at roughly a 15 – 30 degree angle from one side. Try to get down to a 0-degree angle if possible. You can do that by digging out a longer side trench.
- Repeat for the entire length under the driveway.
- Note you can skip the water method and use a sharpened piece of pipe end with a hammer. Then just hammer it through and pull out soil every 6 inches or so. This works best with soils that are less rocky or if you fear the soil will collapse the driveway using the water method.
- Don’t go deeper than a 3-inch trench or you may lose the signal.
- Optional end protection – Protect the ends with waterproof splice kits.
- Watch the video below for a demonstration
Hammer Drill Method
The hammer drill method is very similar to water drilling. Instead of using water to loosen the soil which could cause cracks from vehicle traffic, you’ll be using a bullet mole kit attached to a metal pipe.
This will allow you to use a simple sledgehammer to pound your way under the sidewalk or driveway.
Bullet mole isn’t sold on Amazon. You can read more about it directly from their site.
Watch the demo below.