A sinking office chair is really annoying, but it does not have to be the end of the world. There are temporary and long-term solutions available for you to keep your office chair up and steady.
The cylinder is the key component of the office chair that allows it to go up and down, so when it’s not working properly, your chair sinks. Fortunately, the cylinder is a small section that can be easily fixed up or replaced in a few different ways.
When you have already invested a lot of time, thought, and money into your office chair, it is frustrating when the office chair begins to malfunction. There is no reason to trash a sinking office chair. Read below to know why your chair is sinking and how you can fix it.
Why Do Office Chairs Sink?
Office chairs are great. They are comfortable, easy to swivel around in, and great to lean back into a mini stretch. When the office chair doesn’t stay up, however, they are not so great. So what makes an office chair sink? Usually, there is one culprit to all sinking office chairs.
Office Chair Cylinders and Gas Lift Mechanism
When your office chair keeps sinking, even though you try to lift it over and over again, it usually means the chair has lost its gas lift mechanism. This, unfortunately, happens to be a common problem for both cheaper and more expensive office chairs.
When an office chair sinks, you should remember that it does not mean the entire chair has gone bad. It is usually only the chair’s cylinder that is damaged.
The cylinder on your office chair is a simple piece, but it’s responsible for most of the chair’s movement. It’s located right between the wheels’ stand and the seat. It looks like… a cylinder! The cylinder is also what connects the seat to the wheel component.
If the cylinder is damaged in any way, it’s unable to raise up or lower down. And in some cases, it just falls on its own. That’s when you find yourself with a sinking office chair.
The gas lift cylinder functions as a piston mechanism. Whenever the chair lever is pulled, the nitrogen gas inside the cylinder switches chambers. Technically, this nitrogen gas movement between the chambers is what allows the office chair to go up or down.
The air flows into the chamber with the help of a lever and small knob, where air is trapped and sealed. The more you use the chair lever, and the more time that goes by, the seal weakens.
A weakened seal means the nitrogen gas escapes, and then the chair is unable to stay up. It also means the chair will keep on sinking whether anyone is or isn’t sitting on the chair.
Solutions for Sinking Office Chairs
Perhaps your office chair is currently not working, but the chair still looks good and new. So why put the sinking office chair in the trash? Once you understand the basic gas cylinder component of an office chair (as mentioned above), the solutions to sinking office chairs appear basic too.
Save your money and time by resurrecting your office chair with a quick trip to the store or an easy DIY in the house. There is no reason to throw away a good office chair just because it is sinking.
You cannot directly fix the gas lift cylinder of a chair. The machine-made components and the nitrogen gas are not exactly “homemade” parts. What you can do, though, is maintain the desired height of your office chair or buy a new gas cylinder replacement.
Chair Saver Kit Installment for a Sinking Office Chair
One of the easiest solutions for your sinking office chair problem is a simple chair saver kit. This is an inexpensive fix, too.
|How to use a chair saver kit…||The chair saver kit is a store-bought kit that contains a series of rings. The series of rings are meant to be put on the piston of your office chair’s gas cylinder lift. The rings of the chair saver kit are designed to support the seat to stay at the preferred height. The good thing about the chair saver kits is that they come with a universal fit, saving you the headache of finding the right match for your office chair. Sometimes one or a few of the rings may break, which will make the office chair sink again. If you bulk buy the rings, you can add on a new ring when an old ring breaks or want the office chair to go higher.|
|Things to keep in mind when using a chair saver kit…||The chair saver kit is much cheaper than buying a brand new gas cylinder. Most chair saver kits come with a three to five-year warranty. This option will get your chair functioning again fast. Adding the rings from the chair saver kit does not require you to pull apart the chair at any stage. Hence this is a hassle-free option. The chair saver kit will give a finishing look that is both professional and visually acceptable.|
Use a PVC Pipe or a Plastic Spacer
If you need a quick fix and you’re not the most handy person on the planet, a simple piece of PVC pipe or a plastic spacer will do the trick.
|How to use PVC pipe or a plastic spacer…||The PVC pipe or plastic spacer is a sturdy and durable material that is a viable option to sustain the desired height of an office chair, even with additional weight on it. For this temporary DIY fix, you will also need your measuring tape and a sharp knife blade. Measure out your preferred height in comparison to the current height of your office chair. Cut the PVC pipe or plastic spacer for your desired length, and make sure it is just a little wider than the cylinder’s piston. You will have to cut the pipe or spacer lengthwise and then place it around the cylinder piston. Finally, keep everything intact by using duct tape.|
|Things to keep in mind when using PVC pipe or a plastic spacer…||This is only a temporary solution, not a long-term option. Using PVC pipe or plastic spacers will not allow you to readjust the office chair height. So you must measure out the chair height carefully. This is great to do when you will not find a permanent solution for a while or need an urgent solution like a very important upcoming zoom meeting.|
Replace the Gas Cylinder
If a temporary fix isn’t enough, or you don’t like the look of a DIY repair, then a full cylinder replacement is in order.
|How to replace the gas cylinder…||If you want your chair to look, feel, and function just as before, almost like it is brand new, then you should buy a new office chair cylinder. Most gas cylinders are found in “standard” sizes in stores, so they should be easy to find. Many chairs also tend to use the same type. To attach your new gas cylinder to your office chair, you will have to remove the wheelbase from the chair first. Then remove the old cylinder before you add the new cylinder to the wheelbase. Now secure the cylinder into the base of the office seat. Finally, do an overall check on your chair, see everything has adjusted well. This is one of the best options for high-end expensive office chairs that are too good to just be thrown out|
|Things to keep in mind…||For safety and security, and efficiency, find a gas cylinder that is of the same brand as your office chair. A new gas cylinder has a life of a minimum of 6 years. This should give you peace of mind for avoiding sinking office chairs for a while. For the actual replacement task, you will require a pipe wrench or vice grip and a rubber mallet. Optionally, you can use WD40 too.|
You can try the different methods to fix your chair before wasting money on a brand new one. Try one of the quick DIY solutions before you head to the stores to find a long-lasting solution.
There is no need to feel “stuck” or “low” anymore! Just because your office chair keeps sinking does not mean all hope is lost. The unfortunate problem of a sinking office chair is, fortunately, an easy fix.
Hamid Tahir is a Mechatronics Engineer and founder of WFH Overload. He is currently working from home and is dedicated to the continuous improvement of his home office setup. Hamid has extensive experience setting up workspaces and dealing with the related tech. He hopes to share his knowledge to help you create the most productive and comfortable work from home setup. Read More