Annoyed That Your Office Chair Keeps Sinking?

We spend a lot of money on our office chairs, making sure they are comfortable and ergonomic for our long work days. And after only a few years (or less) of using the chair, it just seems to stop working. Even though it still looks almost brand new and in good shape, it sinks and the office chair won’t stay up. Whether you’ve spent $100 or $1,500 on a desk chair, no one should have to deal with an office chair that keeps sinking.

office chair won't stay up

 

Here’s a quick story. Has something like this ever happened to you?

Jack just got out of a meeting where he found out the deadline on his big project was moved up. He grabbed some coffee and walked in his office ready to get some work done. As soon as he sat down in his office chair, he sank to the bottom. With the chair at the lowest height, it felt like he was in a kid-sized chair and could barely reach his keyboard. So he stood up, pulled on the chair lift lever, and nothing happened. The chair was stuck at the lowest setting. Jack was annoyed and frustrated, and wondered if there was anything he could do about this? Or did he have to buy a brand new chair?

Like you, (and Jack) we have been there before. Literally…we’ve been stuck at the lowest setting of an office chair that won’t stay up attempting to work, and it’s not fun.

So, is it time to throw out the chair and buy a brand new one? Not so fast. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on a brand new chair, consider fixing it instead. You can save a ton of money by repairing your sinking office chair.

Why do office chairs sink?

A sinking office chair doesn’t mean the entire chair is bad. There is actually a very simple reason for why this happens. The office chair cylinder has lost its lift.

 

sinking office chair

An office chair cylinder is the part of the chair that connects the base to the seat. And it is what allows us to adjust the chair up and down. Inside the chair cylinder is Nitrogen gas. So when you pull the chair lever, the nitrogen gas is switching chambers inside the cylinder, allowing it to move up and down. More technical specifics about gas springs can be found here.

Over time and after excessive use of your chair, the seal in the cylinder starts to wear out and leak. So, it is the cylinder causing the chair to sink.

So now what? What if my swivel chair keeps sinking? How do I repair my chair? We have outlined all of the options below for how to fix an office chair.

How to fix a sinking office chair options:

Option 1: Use a Hose Clamp & Duct Tape

Main Points:  Cheap Fix, Temporary, Not Adjustable, Not Professional

computer chair sinking clamp

 

One of the more common DIY quick fix or hack is to use a hose clamp and some duct tape. This option does not actually repair the office chair, but can stop your chair from temporarily sinking. In order for this method to work, the hose clamp must be size 20 or 13/16″-1-3/4″ diameter.

The hose clamp is placed around the cylinder piston at a desired height and acts as a stop. The duct tape is used to help the clamp from sliding. However, this may only work for a few days and will eventually slide. So before you know it, your chair will be dropping again. This is also not a very professional look in your home or work office.

Option 2: Use a Plastic Spacer / PVC Pipe

Main Points: Cheap Fix, Temporary, Not Adjustable, Not Professional

 

desk chair sinking spacer

Another DIY office chair hack is using a plastic spacer or piece of PVC to prevent the cylinder from sinking. If the plastic spacer is cut down the center it can be wrapped around the cylinder piston. If using an uncut spacer or PVC some extra work is involved (taking apart the cylinder to slide on the spacer).

This spacer, like the hose clamp, only acts as a stop and does not allow any height adjustment. Another major downside is the plastic is likely to crack or break,  from the stress of sitting in your chair. This method also may not be suitable for a professional work environment.

Option 3: Replace the Cylinder (Recommended)

Main Points: Costs ~$30, Permanent Solution, Adjustable Chair, Professional

Click here for a complete Chair Cylinder Replacement Kit (includes new cylinder, all required tools, instructions & 6 year warranty)

 

fix sinking office chair

As mentioned previously, the hose clamp and spacer options are temporary, only allow you to sit at one single height, and are not very professional looking. So instead, we recommend replacing the cylinder.

Replacing the chair cylinder is actually much more simple than you might think, and will have your office chair feeling brand new for another 6+ years.

The majority of desk chairs are all built the same, so many of the swivel chair parts (chair cylinder, base, caster wheels) are easily replaced. An industry standard size chair cylinder will fit ~95% of office chairs.

So, if your computer chair keeps sinking, the answer is simple…Replace your chair cylinder.

Is this project too difficult?

Not at all! (it is actually quite simple and straightforward)

So you might not know where to start. Or maybe you’re thinking you probably don’t have the right tools. Don’t worry, that’s where the complete cylinder replacement kit can help. Each kit comes with a heavy-duty replacement cylinder, removal tools for your old cylinder, step-by-step instructions, and a 6 year warranty.

One of our customers/affiliates created this incredibly helpful video that can help guide you through the process.

By The Office Oasis on March 19, 2019 / Office Chair / Leave a comment
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