1) Probably your imagination. I've never noticed a significant difference, and the stove burns front to back no matter how you load it. 2) Sometimes right away, sometimes not until the wood finishes offgasing? Depends what you're burning, how wet it is, and how hot the stove is. 3) It doesn't always, see above. 4) If your gaskets are in good order and you're burning normal fuel (no loads of kerosene soaked wood chips), you don't have to worry about stovetops. I've never seen 800 on mine, but I've never burned anything but wood in it. 800 with fans on high would worry me considerably. 5) You'll have false readings on your cat probe thermometer (it'll look lower than it is). Also your shoulder season burn times will be greatly impacted. The thermostat is going to open up the air to make up for all that heat you are blowing out. Check often to see how your creosote accumulation is going at the top of the flue.