what's your reasoning behind taking the blower off? Does it suck air in from all around the blower too as well as through the unit itself? Have you experimented with distances to find the best position? I'm not doubting it works but mine is installed in a wall about 3' off the ground so I'll have to do some work to get the blower away from the insert.[/quote] Well, this is just with the vogelzang the colonial. I probably wouldn't do it with other inserts. The blower and it's housing come as one piece and connect under the ash guard. When I connected it tight to the the body of the insert with the two screws, I noticed very little air being pushed out. When I closely examined the fan and how the housing is designed, I noticed that it was poorly designed. The fan is trying to take air from the same place it is trying to blow the air which was causing a conflict. So I tried loosing the screws and having it set off a little and noticed it pulled air from the gaps on the sides where it was no longer flush with the insert, more air flow. I then took the screws off and just let it sit on the hearth about a half inch from the insert and noticed even more air being pushed through the insert. I would say it definitely needs that gap to pull air from the sides so it can push the max air through the unit. I read another review of the insert on Northern Tool where someone did the exact same thing so it must be a problem in all of these units. It's a problem I can live with. The housing has enough weight to it that being unscrewed I don't have to worrying about it moving much laying on the hearth. I will take a pic of the housing and upload it in a bit for those that are curious what it looks like and what I might be talking about.