Radiant-heat cost depends on area

We are planning to build a town house in New Hampshire and have been told that radiant heat is very efficient and should be cheaper than oil. How about it?

The price of oil for residential heating is expected to reach approximately $ 1 a gallon in 1980. At that price, and at the typical seasonal oil furnace efficiency of 60 percent, oil heating will cost as much as radiant electric heating if the cost of electricity is 4 cents a kilowatt-hour.

Thus, the answer to your question lies in the cost of electricity in your area.

The Department of Energy forecasts the rate of increase in the price of oil for the period ending in 1990 at three times the increase in the price of electricity: oil, 20 percent; electricity, 8.5 percent -- in constant dollars.

Have you thought about installing a heat pump, which reduces the use of electricity by 30 to 50 percent over that for radiant electric heating? John F. Hubbard Cohasset, Mass.

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