The ceramic insulator (for lack of a better term ) acts as a buffer between the heat exchanger which doesn't or wouldn't even touch the side of the walls of the vaporizer and the wood itself. The vaporizer could probably get away without it, so its not so much band-aid as you might think. I thought it was added security because the heating element, is able to reach temperature of 400F+. I had some long talks with a ceramic company out of New England and we finally came to a specific type of ceramic, that can be used specifically for its low thermal conductivity and used as an insulator. They clean and cut each piece for me and there shipped to me for a final drilling procedure before I install them in conjunction with the heating element and heat exchanger. Again if you guys/gals would like more information on the ceramic insulator - I could call the company next time I reorder and ask for a chemical breakdown. I had spent some time talking with the head of the company and he seemed like that this was the best ceramic to use for its insulating characteristics. I chose to trust the owner of the ceramic company to help choose the best one, I'm sure he knows ceramic better than myself.