An office chair is something that has completely fitted into today’s corporate lifestyle.

Whether you are working a desk job in your office or working from home as a freelancer, you are using an office chair or a computer chair. These chairs are convenient to use because you can adjust their heights according to your comfort.

But after a while, your office chair keeps sinking.

Let’s think about a scenario.

Say you have a meeting with your client in your office. Your client came to your office and you got up to welcome him. After telling him to sit down on the chair in front of your desk, you went back to sit down on your office chair. Just as you sat down, your deck chair sank in front of the client.

How embarrassing would that be?

The expensive office chair that you have been using for a few years has let you down.

Literally!

Your office chair or computer chair no matter how expensive it is bound to sink after a few years of use.

But why?

Before you understand why your office chair keeps sinking, you need to know how they can lift you.

How Does an Office Chair Mechanism Work

 

What is The Parts of an Office Chair?

An office chair or desk chair even if it’s a complex one, consists of some basic parts.

The chair has –

  1. A seat
  2. A padded back support
  3. A gas cylinder with a telescopic cover
  4. A base that usually has 3, 4, or 5 wheels

The seat of the chair is connected with the base through the gas cylinder.

The gas cylinder has a piston or liver attached to it. You can adjust the height of the chair by pulling the lever up and down. Because of the lift mechanism, the cylinder is also called a gas lift cylinder.

These kinds of chairs with height adjustment technology is called pneumatic or hydraulic office chair. Pneumatic is the study and application of the motion of gas where hydraulic deals with liquid. But both systems use almost identical mechanisms.

How Does a Gas Lift Cylinder Work?

Your office chair cylinder uses something called a gas spring or gas damper to make the height adjustment possible. The device is filled with nitrogen gas with high pressure.

Nitrogen gas forms approximately 80% of the earth’s atmosphere and is a neutral gas. Because of that, nitrogen is not a dangerous gas and can be used without any concern.

Nitrogen gas is completely sealed inside the device along with oil. The content sealed inside doesn’t have any way of leaking.

At least when it’s not very old yet.

Gas is something that wants to move freely but now it’s trapped inside a small cylinder.

Since there is no way out and the space is tiny, there is a lot of pressure inside the gas spring, also known as a gas strut. We are simply using the pressure from the trapped nitrogen gas for the lift.

Usually, a gas cylinder of an office chair consists of 3 main parts.

These are –

  1. A rod
  2. A cylinder
  3. A piston or liver

The mechanism is pretty simple –

When you pull the lever of an office chair to lift it, the other side of the liver or piston will force the rod to go inside the cylinder. Since the cylinder is airtight, where the pressure inside increases forcing the nitrogen gas to push the gas spring upwards.

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This is what lifts your office chair and as long as the liver is in place the chair will also stay at that height. Releasing the lever will decrease the pressure in the cylinder and the chair will sink to normal height.

If you are a tall person and wanted to know the best office chairs for tall people like you, You can read our buying guide.

Why Does Office Chair Keeps Sinking?

Why Does Office Chair Keeps Sinking?
Why Does Office Chair Keeps Sinking?

Your pneumatic office chair has moving parts. Every time you adjust the height of the chair, those moving parts will come to contact with one another and cause friction.

Over time the gas cylinder will start to wear out. The gas spring will have leakage after excessive use and nitrogen gas will start to leak out. The pressure inside your office chair gas cylinder will also decrease resulting in the sinking of the chair.

Another possibility could be the external mechanism attached to the piston or liver has jammed due to dirt or rust. This could interfere with the spring gas and result in your chair to keep sinking.

But simply because your office chair is having an issue with lifting doesn’t mean that the whole chair is now a waste. Instead of throwing out a perfectly good chair and waste money on buying a new one, you can easily fix it.

Now that we know about the problem and the underlying reason behind it, let’s think about an optimal solution for fixing your chair.

How Do I Stop My Office Chair From Sinking?

There are at least 4 different methods you can use to fix a chair that keeps sinking.

One of them may not even work at all and one is the most suitable. The two other solutions are just a quick fix.

These methods are –

  1. Using lubricant
  2. Using hose clamp
  3. Using PVC pipe
  4. Replacing the gas cylinder

1.   Using Lubricant

The problem of your office chair keeps getting down could be related to simple dirt.

After a long time of use, dirt could accumulate and sit in the joints of the cylinder mechanism. Rust could also create this problem. The metal parts of your office chair could become rusty due to the moisture of the air and air conditioner.

Rust could play a major role in your office chair gas cylinder device not working properly resulting in your chair to keep sliding down.

You have to use some kind of lubricant to solve this problem.

To do that –

  1. You should first remove the base of the chair from the cylinder.
  2. Now you can use lubricants such as WD – 40 or some Liquid Wrench Penetrating Oil to spray all over the cylinder.
  3. After a while just put the base back together and hopefully, your office chair sinking problem is now solved.

This solution may or may not work depending on the condition.

2.   Using Hose Clamp

A hose clamp or jubilee clamp is an adjustable clip that is used for holding a hose onto one place so that the liquid inside can transfer safely without spilling anything.

You can easily fix a sinking office chair using the adjustable hose clamp method, also called hose clip or hose lock.

The procedure is simple –

  1. First, slide the plastic telescopic cover to the bottom or top of the cylinder underneath the chair to expose the metal cylinder.
  2. Now adjust the chair height to a position you are comfortable with. If the chair doesn’t stay up then just lay it on the floor and then adjust the height.
  3. Rub the surface of the metal cylinder with sandpaper and clean the dirt, grease, rust, and any kind of moisture.
  4. Use strong duct tape to wrap around the metal cylinder neatly. Because of the previous cleaning, the tape should get stuck on the surface in a sturdy way.
  5. Now that the surface has more grip from the tape, you should wrap a ¾ inches hose clamp around the top or bottom of the taped cylinder and make the screw as tight as possible.
  6. Now test the chair and you’ll see that it’s not sinking.
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The disadvantage of this system is that once you adjust your office chair to a specific height, you won’t be able to adjust it again.

3.     Using PVC Pipe

Just like using a hose clamp, you can use a PVC pipe to permanently adjust the height of your office chair or any type of sinking chair.

The steps are –

  1. Slide down the plastic telescopic cover at the bottom and estimate the diameter of the metal cylinder using a measuring tape.

You have to measure the length of the cylinder as well while you are at it.

You don’t have to worry about the pinpoint accurate measure of the diameter.

You can also measure the circumference of the perimeter of the cylinder first and then calculate the diameter.

  • Buy PVC or plastic pipe that’ll fit the metal chair cylinder. For most office chair cylinder models, 1.5 inches or 3.8 cm pipe will do the trick.
  • If the PVC pipe is longer than the height you want your office chair to adjust to, then cut it with a PVC pipe cutter or a hack saw.

After getting a perfect length PVC pipe, you now have to cut through one side of the pipe vertically.

  • Just push the PVC pipe onto the chair’s metal cylinder through the vertical cut.

The pipe doesn’t even have to be in one piece and may be easier to work with several small pieces. You can even use a stack of plastic shower curtain rings (experiment at your own risk) instead of a long PVC pipe in this case.

  • Now test the chair and you’ll find that it’s not sliding down anymore.
  • If you think the chair is still low, add another PVC with the appropriate length just like the method described above.

TIP: You can also wrap a hose clap around the vertically PVC pipes after covering the cylinder to strengthen it.

4.     Replacing the Office Chairs Gas Cylinder

Replacing the gas cylinder or pneumatic cylinder of an office chair is costly compared to the other methods described above, but it’s better than buying a new chair.

So how do you change a gas cylinder on an office chair or sinking desk chair?

The steps are given below:

  1. At first, you have to buy a new cylinder. A universal gas lift cylinder suitable for most office chairs can be found here.
  2. Removing the clip from the bottom attaching the cylinder with the base.
  3. Pull the base from the chair cylinder and disconnect them.
  4. You may have to hammer on the base for the separation process. You can use lubricants such as WD – 40 or Liquid Wrench Penetrating Oil on the joints to make the hammering easier.
  5. Take off the plastic telescopic covers after that.
  6. Use a wrench to forcefully spin on both sides and pull out at the same time to disconnect the cylinder from the seat.
  7. Now connect your newly bought universal office chair gas lift cylinder to the chair seat and push on the joint a bit. Assemble the base at the end of the cylinder and lock it with the clip that you removed in the 2nd step.
  8. Test the chair and there will be no problem with chair sinking or height adjusting.

TIP: You can use lubricants such as WD – 40 or Liquid Wrench Penetrating Oil on the joints to loosen them make the separation process easier.

5.     Bonus Fix for Sinking Office Chair!

Here is a quick fix where you won’t have to do much work and can quickly fix an office chair.

Chair Saver The Kit is something that works like our vertically slit PVC pipe method.

But you don’t have to cut and slit the PVC yourself. It’s universally sized and will fit any Office chair manufactured in the last 20 years.

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The kit also comes with 3 different chair lifters with different lengths. You can use them separately, any 2 of them together or even all 3 of them one above another to adjust the height on your office chair. You can attach or detach them pretty easily so it’s just like having an adjustable chair.

If you are struggling with short chair legs you can read our chair leg extender article for finding the best solutions.

F.A.Q

How do I stop my computer chair from going down?

The most common problem with a chair that is not staying in place is a stuck gas cylinder. There are two things you can do to solve this issue: You may be able to free the piston by applying lubricant around the area where it moves or you might need to replace the entire unit.

If there’s no sticking, try tightening up any hose clamps on your chair’s frame and cylinders so they’re snug enough for them not to move but loose enough for easy movement when needed. If replacing all of the hardware isn’t an option, then use a PVC pipe as long as it will fit underneath everything. It won’t last forever though, which means eventually you’ll have to get new parts anyways!

How do you fix hydraulics on a desk chair?

This is a question that we get often, so I wanted to write more about it. One issue with desk chairs can be the hydraulics locking up and making your chair not fold properly or go back into place correctly.

First things first: do you have a service warranty? If you don’t then this will cost an arm and a leg at somewhere around $300-$400 for parts alone!

You’ve got two options here- either call in someone to fix it (which could still be expensive) or take matters into your own hands by replacing the hydraulic fluid yourself at home. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube that show how to change out the old hydraulic fluid with new stuff which should make everything work like normal again!

What is the life expectancy of an office chair?

An office chair can last anywhere from five years to 15 years, depending on the quality of the material and whether or not it is used incorrectly. Office chairs are typically designed for light use rather than heavy-duty work, but over time they will wear out regardless.

An office worker should consider replacing their chair every three to five years if using a high-quality model with good support; otherwise, replace an office chair after about two to four years.

The type of materials in a desk chair will also affect its lifespan as some types may be weaker and more prone to damage such as leather due to water spills or scratches from sharp objects like pens and pencils.

How do you fix a gas lift on a chair?

There are a few things you can do to fix the gas lift on your chair, but I’ll dive into my personal favorite.

First off, make sure that the valve is turned all of the ways up and give it about 20-25 pumps (depending on how low or high it was) without being too forceful when pumping. This should allow for enough air pressure in there so that it will work properly again if not fully fixed yet.

If this doesn’t work, try taking out the batteries from both remote controls and see if that helps. You may have some corrosion built up which means replacing them with new ones might help even more! Lastly, if neither of those seems to be working then take apart one side of each remote control.

You’ll need to unscrew the battery covers and remove one side of each remote control. Now, take your screwdriver or any other tool you might have to scrape off the corrosion from the battery compartment.

Final Thoughts

After a few years of use, it’s normal to face the sinking problem from your office chair. But that doesn’t mean that the chair is useless now. Why should you throw away a perfectly good chair and waste money when you can have an easy fix?

Instead, you should follow our instructions and use a method suitable for you. Want to know more about How to clean a cloth Office Chair?