JFournier: I can't say for certain where the air supply for the 3 holes at the bottom comes from. But, the fresh air connection is on the side of the stove. So, one might assume that all air comes from the sides and is preheated before entering the stove. The air channel that supplies the 3 holes originates at the sides of the stove. I read an interesting article in a Drolet wood stove manual today, to help people determine if their wood is dry enough. Thought people might be interested in reading it: TESTING YOUR WOOD When the stove is thoroughly warmed, place one piece of split wood (about five inches in diameter) parallel to the door on the bed of red embers. Keep the air control full open by pulling on it and close the door. If ignition of the piece is accomplished within 90 seconds from the time it was placed in the stove, your wood is correctly dried. If ignition takes longer, your wood is damp. If your wood hisses and water or vapour escapes at the ends of the piece, your wood is soaked or freshly cut. Do not use this wood in your stove. Large amounts of creosote could be deposited in your chimney, creating potential conditions for a chimney fire.