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Intercoolers and Aftercoolers for System Efficiency

September 15th, 2023

Air compressors play an essential role in many industrial processes. However, they also generate excessive amounts of heat, which—if you don’t take the proper precautions—can cause damage to your more sensitive pieces of equipment. Fortunately, air compressor intercoolers and aftercoolers can help you circumvent this problem. 

Intercoolers and Aftercoolers

What is an Intercooler?

An air compressor intercooler is a heat exchanger that removes heat from compressed air between the first and second compressor stages. When the intercooler lowers the temperature of the air, the air’s density increases. This generally leads to higher levels of system efficiency and improved power output. 

What is an Aftercooler?

Like an intercooler, an air compressor aftercooler is a type of heat exchanger that can improve power output and system efficiency. However, it operates slightly differently. While an intercooler is positioned between compressor stages, an aftercooler is positioned after the final compressor stage in order to cool air when it is released from the compression unit.

Intercoolers vs. Aftercoolers

Despite differences in modus operandi, intercoolers and aftercoolers can be used to achieve very similar results. Both remove excess heat produced by air compressors during industrial processes, and both can improve a system’s performance. Which you should use depends on the nature of your application. For example, if your system requires cooled intake air to function properly, you should choose an intercooler over an aftercooler. 

If you want more information on intercoolers and aftercoolers, or need help determining which is best for you, contact Industrial Heat Transfer, Inc. today. We provide high quality air compressor intercoolers and aftercoolers for a wide range of applications. Give us a call at (608) 452-3103, send an email to, or click here to fill out our online contact form.