Sales of radiant heating tubing reached a record 150 million lineal feet in the North American market for the year 2000. This compares with sales of 140 million lineal feet in 1999 - a 7.8 percent increase, according to the Radiant Panel Association. The RPA's findings were the result of an annual survey of the top 18 radiant tubing suppliers and manufacturers whose combined market share is about 70 percent.

Although sales are strong, their growth has been decelerating since 1997when the growth peaked at about 27 percent. The RPA recommends the industry investigate the causes of the slower growth and suggests two possible causes: The first is a shortage of craftsmen who have the required knowledge to install and maintain radiant heating systems, causing potential customers to become frustrated and seek other means of heating their homes.

Another cause in the decline of growth is possibly the "sticker-shock" that comes along with a radiant system that may cost four times as much as a forced air system.

Although growth is slowing, industry analysts believe there is still "healthy growth" and radiant supply sales should continue to expand.