How To Fix An Office Chair That Won’t Stay Up

This is a picture of a man fixing an office chair.

The reason behind most office chairs sinking is the failure of the pneumatic cylinder system. It’s this part that keeps the chair up at the height you desire and makes the seat comfortable. It uses pressurized air that enables you to control and retain the height of the chair in place. A few years after the continuous pressure from your weight, the cylinder fails. That’s why it’s sinking. There are several ways you can fix this problem and continue using your office chair.

Replacing the pneumatic cylinder system is one of the ways to solve this problem if the other methods fail. But it is very costly and not an option for most people. The high price and involving work make it better to buy a new one. If you get to this stage, contact us at Office Furniture Warehouse for great deals. We have an array of office chairs you can choose from.

Required Tools to Fix an Office Chair That Won't Stay Up

Just like any other DIY project, you’ll need tools to make fixing your chair a success. The tools and equipment you’ll need will be informed by the repair process you choose. Here’s the list of required tools for each method:

For Hose Clamping, You’ll Need

  • A screwdriver
  • Rubber strip, duct tape or Sandpaper
  • Jubilee clip
  • Hose clamp
  • Grease remover or cleaning agent

For PVC Piping, You’ll Need:

  • A tape measure or a ruler
  • PVC pipe with the same size as your chairs cylinder
  • A cutting tool like a hacksaw or band saw
  • Vise

For Replacing the Cylinder, You’ll Need

  • A rubber mallet
  • A pipe wrench
  • A new pneumatic cylinder
  • A screwdriver
  • WD-40 (which is not necessary unless you are having trouble to detach the components of your office chair)
This is a picture of a man fixing an office chair.

A Brief Guide on How to Fix an Office Chair That Keeps Sinking

Hose Clamping

  • In the case where your office chair collapses even without weight on it, lay it down to work on it properly.
  • Modern office chairs have a plastic skirt over the cylinder. The first thing to do is to push this skirt up or down to enable you to see the pneumatic cylinder underneath.
  • Set the chair to the desired height (which will be permanent after installation). The best height is when your feet touch the ground and your back sits comfortably on the backrest.
  • After adjusting the height, ensure you can see the metal cylinder. If not, remove the plastic skirt to make your work easier.
  • If the cylinder looks dirty or rusty, clean it up. Sometimes all you need is to wipe to get rid of dust, but if necessary scuff it up with sandpaper or use a grease remover
  • Take your duct tape and wrap it around the exposed cylinder to help provide a tight grip for the hose clamp
  • Now take the hose clamp and wrap it around the cylinder at the top point. It shouldn’t be tight at first so you can adjust it in position.
  • It’s now time to counter check if the chair is at the right height then push the hose clamp up as you tighten the clamping bolts. Tighten the hose clamp around the cylinder as much as possible to keep it up in place when you sit.
  • Try out if the chair works as expected. It shouldn’t go past the clamp. If it moves downward, then that means you’ve not tightened it properly
  • If the clamp keeps sliding off, try adding a rubber strip before tightening the clamp over it. The office chair should now stay up when you try it

PVC Piping

  • Just like in the first step, lay your chair down if it doesn’t hold then move the plastic skirt up or down to leave parts of the cylinder exposed.
  • Use your ruler to measure an estimate diameter of the cylinder. Doing this helps you choose the right size of a pvc pipe
  • Adjust the office chair to a suitable height – legs touching the floor and your back comfortable on the backrest – then measure the circumference and length of the exposed gas cylinder
  • Get a PVC pipe with the same length and slightly bigger diameter as the chair cylinder. You can choose to work with it as a whole or chop it into several pieces
  • Cut through the PVC pipe along its length using a hacksaw or any cutting solution you have. The results here should be a pipe with a slit on one side
  • If you don’t want to cut the PVC pipe, remove the base of your office chair and insert your pipe to fit the length of the cylinder.
  • Back to the slit PVC pipe(s). Take and pull the slits open then snap them around the metal cylinder. If it seems impossible to snap your pipes around the chair, cut them into even shorter pieces to make the process easier.
  • Once the snapping is done, your chair is ready to use. If you want to raise the chair higher, just add more pipes. If the height of the office chair is too high and you want to make them shorter, remove a few pipes until you get a comfortable height.
This is a picture of a man fixing an office chair.

Shop for Office Chair Cylinders and Replace the Old One

The two methods we’ve discussed above will produce results but might not last as you’d wish. They could damage your off chair as well. Your chair will remain at a fixed height after fixing it, which doesn’t appeal to most people. The best repair option is to get another system and install it. If possible choose a specific brand as your chair. If you are unsure which brand your office chair is, you can contact us to help you identify which brand it is. Once you got a chair cylinder for your brand or a corresponding one, purchase it, and start the installation process as below.
  • Lay your chair down on its side then tap its base using a rubber mallet to separate the old cylinder from the chair
  • Unscrew the bolts under the seat then grip the cylinder with a wrench from the closest end to the chair as you twist it to detach from the rest of the chair. If it doesn’t pull off as expected, use the mallet to tap it off.
  • If you are unable to remove these chair components, apply WD-40, and let it stay there for a while before attempting to remove it again. Ensure you cover stuff around your work area to avoid destroying them with WD-40
  • After separating the cylinder from the chair, replace it with your new chair cylinder. Just insert the cylinder under your chair and bolt it back in position.
  • Attach the chair to the base and set it upright to test if the installation was a success or not.
  • Make sure you adjust your chair to your preferred height, sit in it and make sure it performs as expected.
Caution! However tempting it might be, do not grill your chair’s to bolt it into a fixed position. The cylinder has pressurized air contents that might cause harm if punctured.

Buy New Office Furniture Online Today

Replacing a pneumatic cylinder for your sinking office chair is a great option. But the cylinder is often very pricey and almost the same as buying a new chair. It’s also very difficult to install and could consume your time and produce bad results. Instead of going through all this trouble, buy a new office chair from Office Furniture Warehouse we sell quality office furniture at affordable prices. Visit one of our showrooms in Pompano Beach and Miami. You can also get a quote for your office furniture requirements on our website and get deliveries across Florida.

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