How to Guide: Fix Your Sinking Office Chair

How to Guide: Fix Your Sinking Office Chair

Got that sinking feeling?

Office chairs are meant to stand the test of time - especially if you buy good quality ones. However, it's not realistic to think that you won't run into some problems from time to time. One of the most common problems your office chair might face in its lifetime is sinking. You know when you sit down at your desk and just... sink? Well, that's pretty annoying, we know. The technical reason? Essentially, the pneumatic piston in your chair contains a valve and eventually, this will start to leak. For more information on how gas lift mechanisms work, check out this blog post. No matter what you do or how you adjust it, your chair just won't stay. Here's how to fix that.

How to fix your office chair

There are two methods you can use when it comes to fixing this problem. You might have to root around your garage or take a trip to a DIY store for the key tools. Firstly, you can use a hose clamp to prevent the chair's cylinder from moving. Secondly, you can use PVC pipe to also stop the cylinder from sliding down. Which method you go for may depend on what you find around the house or what you can pick up in a shop.

The hose clamp method

What you'll need:

  • A screwdriver
  • 2cm (3/4" hose clamp)
  • Duct tape

Start by moving the plastic skirt to reveal the chair's cylinder. You may be able to do this by simply sliding it. Then, you can set the chair to its ideal height. If it won't stay up even when no-one is sat on it, try lying it on its side. If the plastic skirt covers the cylinder as your preferred height, you'll need to remove it first. Do this by turning the chair upside down, pushing the retainer clip at the bottom with a screwdriver and pull off the wheels then the skirt. Then, put the wheels back on. Next, wrap the hose clamp around the top of the cylinder and loosen the screw to pull out the belt end. Do not tighten it just yet! You then need to give the clamp more grip by wrapping duct tape around the cylinder a few times for a better surface. Then, tighten the clamp as far as it will go at the top of the cylinder. Tighten it by pulling and rotating the screw fixture. You'll need to test your office chair and make sure it is at the right height and the fix has worked! You can move the clamp up or down depending on what you find. Try the next method if you can't get the clamp to stay still...

The PVC pipe method

What you'll need:

  • A ruler
  • Appropriate length of PVC pipe
  • Saw to cut pipe

Start by measuring your chair's cylinder with a ruler. The measurements do not have to be exact but you'll need to know how much PVC pipe to use. Make sure you measure the length of the cylinder as well as the diameter! Then, you can go out and buy some PVC pipe (or find some lying around!) which will fit over your cylinder well. Make sure there is enough pipe to extended from the base of the chair to the seat - whilst the chair is at its ideal height.

Once your PVC pipe is the right height for your cylinder, you should saw into it lengthwise. However, do not cut all the way through. You need to achieve a pipe with a slit in one side, not two halves of a pipe! This is to slide the pipe onto the cylinder easily. If you do not have a saw, you can follow the method in the hose clamp section to see how to remove the wheel base and plastic skirt to slide the pipe on. Reveal the metal cylinder by sliding the plastic skirt and attach the pipe over the cylinder. Your chair should now be held in place. When you test the chair, if you find it is still too low, attach more pipe lengths onto the cylinder until you reach your desired height.