Office chairs make things easy at your desk giving you the proper height and comfort when in proper working conditions. When they break down and can’t stay up, it’s a major disappointment, especially if it keeps sinking. Luckily, there are easy solutions to fix an office chair that keeps sinking or won’t lift.
You can fix a sinking chair by replacing the gas cylinder, use of a Chair Saver Kit, a Plastic spacer (or PVC pipe), or a hose clamp (or a jubilee clip), and a duct tape combination. These DIY methods will restore full function to your chair, instead of buying an office chair replacement.
Before you think of throwing out that office chair, one of these solutions is bound to restore its proper use. They’re efficient as you’ll spend only a few minutes to apply them and cost little as well.
What Causes a Chair to Sink or Fail to Stay Up?
To understand why your office chair has suddenly failed to attain and maintain a certain height, we need to understand how it goes up and down with the control of the little knob and levers under the seat.
A gas lift cylinder is a piston mechanism in which there is a chamber filled with nitrogen gas. To lift the chair up, the air flows to the chamber and, with an airtight seal, remains compressed there. The gear lever then locks the height of the seat. To lower it, the air is released from the chamber below to flow slightly above the piston. The lever is again used to lock the desired height.
A chair keeps sinking because the seal inside the gas cylinder becomes weak and lets the nitrogen gas out. The cylinder is no longer able to sustain the weight of the chair with or without extra weight on it and will thus allow the chair to drop to the bottom no matter how much you set it.
How to fix a sinking office chair
The one thing you need to know is that you can’t directly fix a chair gas lift cylinder. It’s a part made by machines and compressing nitrogen into the cylinder chamber again is almost impossible at home.
As such, the solutions offered focus on enabling you to attain the height you need rather than fixing the gas cylinder. They include the following:
1. Replace the gas cylinder
If you need the chair to work and feel exactly as it was before the sinking, you should replace the gas cylinder with another one. Often, the gas cylinder for office chairs is a standard fit with lots of chairs using the same cylinder. When done properly and with a quality gas cylinder, your chair will be in good working condition for at least 6 years more.
To be safe, go with the brand name of your particular office chair to the store to determine the right gas cylinder to buy. Otherwise, getting a standard fit isn’t an issue since most vendors offer a refund or replacement if yours doesn’t fit. The procedure for replacing the gas cylinder (detailed here) is a simple one entailing replacing the part of the chair from the base of the seat to the center of the base.
The best gas lift cylinders are found in this guide.
2. Install a chair saver kit
The Chair Saver Kit is a cheap option for the gas cylinder which can get your chair in working condition in no time. It’s a series of rings that you snap on the piston of the current gas cylinder lift. This way, you can lift the seat then the rings will support it in place at the desired height.
They’re cheap to buy and come with a 5-year warranty which is a major vote of confidence from the manufacturer. As they have a universal fit, you’re better off buying a large amount for when you’ll need them.
The good news with this kit is that you can always add a new ring to the chair when one breaks or you need a better height. Better yet, you don’t need to disassemble the chair at any one time.
3. Add a plastic spacer (or PVC Pipe)
A temporary solution to the sinking chair is the use of a plastic spacer or a piece of PVC pipe. The spacer or pipe is to go around the piston of the cylinder to support the weight of the seat at a specific height.
For this to work, you need to measure the height you desire and how high the seat currently is. You then cut a piece of pipe with that specific length. It should also be just slightly wider than the width of the cylinder’s piston. The spacer needs to have these specific attributes to fit the gas cylinder piston.
You need to know that it’ll not be possible to stack two or more pipes as the finished work will be shaky and look unprofessional.
There are two ways to place the pipe or spacer on the cylinder piston.
- In one, you remove the part of the piston connected to the seat of the chair then insert the pipe and screw it back.
- In the second method, you cut the pipe along its length, open it up then insert it on the cylinder piston. This method requires the pipe to be strengthened with duct tape or a hose clamp to keep it in place.
Both methods are temporary solutions. If done right, however, they can last for quite a long time. The only downside is that the chair will have a single height and won’t be adjustable.
4. Add a hose clamp or Jubilee clip and duct tape
The other temporary solution to the sinking chair problem is the use of a hose clamp and duct tape to hold the seat up. It works almost like the plastic spacer method in that you’ll be using the clamp and duct tape on the piston of the gas cylinder to hold the seat. The seat remains up mainly from the tightness of the hose clamp. The duct tape is there to increase the grip of the clamp. You can also scuff the area under the clamp with sandpaper for a better grip.
This method is the least effective as the clamp rarely stays in place for more than a few weeks.
These methods will help keep your chair up when the gas lift cylinder has become unusable. They all cost very little and will take only a few minutes to complete.
5. Use a chair riser
A chair riser is a set of buttons you add to the bottom section of the chair’s legs to increase its height. They can be circular or another shape depending on the shape of your furniture’s legs. Most chair risers are fixed to the legs either by screwing them to the legs or placing the chair’s legs inside the grooves in the risers.
Some of the best chair risers are the Slipstick CB512 2 Inch Tall Floor Protector Furniture Legs and the Utopia Bedding Adjustable Bed Furniture Risers.
A chair at the wrong height is a major impediment to your productivity and should thus be dealt with as soon as you can. Instead of going for another expensive replacement of the whole chair, the methods here can be put to use.