I want to use my fireplace as the primary room heat source - using gas! - How?

this doesn't seem like a radical request but I want to use the big fireplaces that I have in my house for the primary heat source so that I can discard the central heating system and especially the radiators that stop me putting furniture against the walls they blot. Coal is out - I want something that maintains the apartment heating with a thermostat - and I want it to be warm in the morning, So no coal, no coal!
I have explored flame effect gas fires but apparently no useful heat output is generated. And flueless devices, it seems cause excessive condensation.
How can I usefully use the vacant space in my big fireplaces to generate heat from a gas supply. I want the answer to be aesthetically pleasingly as well as efficient as possible.
My only other option is to install a combi heater and keep the radiators.
Jo
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Jo wrote:

If these fire places are big 'inglenook' types they are never going to be efficien. The most efficient form of (non boiler) gas space heating is the bog standard outset radient/convector gas fire (about 75% efficient), but very ugly. The inset live fuel effect types are in the 40-60% range. Neither type is suitable for automatic operation to the best of my knowledge. In all cases you would have to reduce the opening to fit the 'normal' sized appliances.
The display type (grate burners etc. ) are very very inefficient (even negative - ie. they make the place colder when used). And would likely need to have a partial restiction in the size of the opening.
There are lots of ways of using a boiler to heat a house without useing bog standard rads - at a cost.
--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at www.diyfaq.org.uk
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Have you checked how this will affect the property value? My guess is that removing central heating altogether might reduce it considerably. Most people seem to demand it these days even if they also want a fire or fireplace for aesthetic reasons.
I suggest pretending you are planning on selling and inviting an estate agent or two around for a valuation and discussion of the options. You may find that keeping the central heating, while investing in a suitable replacement for the awkward radiators, may save money in the long term. There are many different radiator designs these days, and replacing those you have with something more discrete could be worthwhile.
Barbara
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