Condensate management

Contact us to learn more

The ins and outs of condensate management

Condensate management is one of the most important factors when using compressed air. It heavily influences your compressor’s performance and lifespan. But what exactly is the problem with condensate? And what solutions are there? That’s what you’ll find out here.

Jump to your selection ⤸

What is compressor condensate?

Condensate occurs naturally when you compress air as a result of the air purifying process. Oil and other types of moisture are extracted from the air, and stored in a dedicated container within the compressor.

In the long run, moisture might damage the piping of your air compressor or the air itself. Especially in sectors like pharmaceuticals and food processing, but also the automotive industry, it’s important to have clean and dry air. Otherwise you run the risk of contamination or oxidation.

Part of condensate management is to regularly dispose of stored condensation to make sure it stays out of your compressor’s inner machinery, keeping it up to standard.

The system that purifies the air and stores the extracted condensation, is called a condensate management system. There are several types of systems, depending on how they function.

What types of condensate management systems exist?

oil-water separator
Oil-water separators

cyclonic separator
Cyclonic separators

drain valve
Drain valves


1. Oil-water separators

Mark Water Separator

Oil-water separators - as the name implies - separate the water in the air from the oil used to lubricate your compressor. During compression, the two get mixed together and heated in order to properly clean the air.

When the compressor starts cooling after compression, the water and other impurities cleaned from the air cool down and form condensation. If these particulates were to be left in, they would disrupt your compressor’s inner workings and damage it.

How an oil-water separator works:


  1. Condensation enters the separator.
  2. The first stage of separation is handled by depressurising the condensate, after which it runs through a filter that lets water pass through.
  3. The filter gradually starts to sink under the weight of the oil as more and more condensate passes through. The oil filter is changed just before it submerges.
  4. The water that passed through is cleaned of possible remaining oil with activated carbon.
  5. Clean water is disposed of through the separator’s outlet.

2. Cyclonic separators

Cyclonic separators internally create a vortex of air - like a tornado - to clean the air. As it swirls, impurities like dust particles and water droplets are expelled from the air and collected in a dedicated container.

This type of separator catches about 99% of the air’s impurities.

3. Drain valves

Drain valves are the part of your condensate management system that allows you to safely dispose of condensate to maintain a high level of efficiency. Although the drain valve isn’t a separator in and of its own, it is a crucial part of any system.

Air dryers

Another option to eradicate moisture particles or contaminants are air dryers. There are four different types:

  1. Chemical compressed air dryers
  2. Refrigerating compressed air dryers
  3. Desiccant compressed air dryers
  4. Membrane compressed air dryers

Want to get to know more about air dryers? We've written an article about it!

⇪ Back to top ⇪

Can we help you find the compressor with a water separator?

Looking for the type of condensate management that best suits your air compressor needs? Get personal advice from our experts to make sure you get the best fit.

Read more about condensate management in related articles

⇪ Back to top ⇪