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5 Things to Do With a Sinking Office Chair Before Replacing It

12 December 2022

When you invest in a quality office chair, you are not just looking for something that is comfortable and looks nice; you are looking for something that can withstand the test of time. A good office chair is made of robust materials that are built to last.

However, even the best office chairs are not immune to depreciation. One issue you may experience is sinking – or the feeling that the chair's seat suddenly drops when you put weight on it. This problem can often be traced back to issues with the support system or structure of the chair itself.

In many situations, the go-to solution for dealing with the sinking is readjusting the height of your chair by raising it to its previous position. However, this is only a short-term fix, as your seat will gradually start to sink again over time.

Why, you may ask, height-adjustable office chairs are equipped with a pneumatic piston designed to sustain your weight and other mechanical pressures, keeping the chair at your ideal height. However, these pistons can weaken and leak over time, causing your chair to sink lower under weight gradually.

At first, many people may simply assume that their chair has seen its best days and decide to go out and buy a new one. But before that's your only solution, it may be worth looking into a few simple maintenance measures or a quick repair job. With some TLC, you might be able to fix your sinking chair and avoid spending money on a new one altogether.

Read along to find out about these inventive DIY fixes.


Why is Your Office Chair Sinking?

Pneumatic cylinders are the primary support and lifting mechanism in most office chairs. They must be strong enough to support your weight on the chair's base.

These cylinders contain pressurized gasses that enable you to raise or lower the chair's seat. And while these cylinders usually have a relatively long service life of 7 to 10 years, factors such as factory defects, time, and excessive use can cause them to weaken over time or even leak air. Consequently, this can lead to issues like sinking or tilting of the chair base.

Now let's look at some ways to fix this before replacing your office chair.


5 Things To Try on a Sinking Office Chair before Replacing It


Fixing a Sinking Office Chair with a Metal Hose Clamp and Duct Tape

Requirements:

Duct tape

3/4" hose clamp

Screwdriver

This method is simple and effective in the short term, but not very reliable, as the hose clamp can easily slip out of place over time. Therefore, this approach should only be used as a temporary fix until you can find a more permanent solution. Additionally, this setup is not exactly professional-looking.

You simply:

Set the chair to the desired sitting height. Lay it on its side if it keeps slipping

Use an old rag to wipe down the area where you plan to attach the duct tape and hose clamp

Wrap some two to three layers of duct tape at the bottom of the cylinder to give the extra clamp grip

Wrap the hose clamp around the duct tape at the base of the cylinder

Once it's fully wrapped around the cylinder, you're going to take a flat-blade screwdriver and tighten it

The Hose clamp acts as a sort of stopper, helping to keep your chair from sinking any further

If this method doesn't work, you can proceed to the next one.


Fixing a Sinking Office Chair With PVC Pipe/Plastic Spacer

Requirements:

Measuring tape or ruler

PVC pipe

Saw

You can encase the cylinder with a robust PVC pipe to stop your chair from sinking. This method produces satisfying results. But, it permanently sets the chair height and gives you no room for adjustment. So getting the correct height is advisable before you start.

To do this:

Start by measuring the cylinder's height and diameter. It doesn't have to be exact at this stage. You just need to establish how much PVC pipe is required. Now, you can go and buy or find a long and wide pipe to extend from the chair base to the seat.

Saw a lengthwise slit from the top of the pipe to the bottom

You can remove the chair base and slide in the pipe if you don't have a saw

Slide the PVC pipe so it covers the cylinder

Put the cylinder column and base back onto the chair

With that, the PVC pipe will take the weight, ensuring that the chair doesn't sink. If it's too high, you can measure and cut off a length of pipe to lower it. You can attach more lengths of pipe to raise it if it is too low.


Fixing a Sinking Office Chair with Poly-insert Coupling and Lubricant

Requirements:

Poly-insert coupling

A multipurpose oil like WD-40

Sometimes you notice your chair making minor dips as the day progresses. This method can help you solve that without making radical changes to your ergonomic office chair.

Here is how to proceed:

Set your office chair to the desired height

Place the poly-insert coupling on the top of the skirting

Test the height movement of the chair

Twist the tubing until it tightens around the cylinder

This method prevents your chair from sinking, and you can still adjust the height. To do so, apply a light coating of WD-40 around the top of the inserts. This allows you to rotate and move the insert by a few degrees whenever needed.


Fixing a Sinking Office Chair with Screws

Requirements:

Drill

1 ½ -inch Screws (the screw should be slightly longer than the diameter of the cylinder)

Screwdriver

Measuring tape

Sharpie

We're approaching the "last resort zone" if the previous methods failed to give results. Desperate times call for desperate measures like drilling holes in your hydraulic cylinder. So, it may be wise to use this method on an old chair that's past its warranty – The effect is permanent. If it fails, you might as well get a brand-new ergonomic office chair.

Procedure:

Set your chair to the desired height

Mark the height down with a sharpie

Lay the chair on its side or upside down

Next, you will need to drill a set of holes through the cylinder where you marked the desired height. These holes should run from one end of the pipe all the way through. The other set of holes should be drilled slightly below the first ones. Make sure to run the drill through the cylinder so that all the holes line up.

The screws should form a cross once in place and should run from one end of the cylinder to the other

Place and tighten the screw around the holes until there's no room for movement

Note that this method essentially hinders the internal components of the chair's cylinder from moving, which will keep the seat from sinking any further or moving up and down permanently


Fixing a Sinking Office Chair by Replacing the Hydraulic Cylinder

Requirements:

Screwdriver or pipe wrench

WD-40 or a similar lubricant

A new hydraulic cylinder

While many people turn to temporary solutions like clamps, spacers, and inserts to adjust the height of their office chairs, these approaches offer only short-term fixes. Not only can adding extra components to your chair compromise its appearance, but they may also void your warranty.

However, letting go of a trusty office chair isn't always easy. After all, you have probably developed an attachment to how it cradles you in comfort over the years. And, of course, you probably don't want the costs associated with buying a new chair, especially if yours is relatively new and still in good condition.

Rather than resigning yourself to a subpar chair, there is a better solution: simply change the faulty chair cylinder

Procedure:

Turn the chair upside down or tilt it to its side

Unclip the metal fastener or any locking mechanism holding the cylinder to the base

Apply some WD-40 to make it easier to remove the chair base and the plastic skirting

Once the hydraulic cylinder is removed, you can replace it with a new one

Insert the new cylinder on the seat and chair base

Replace the metal fastener

Now, you're good to go!

Most replaceable chair parts follow industrial standards for size and shape, so you can easily find a replacement part, e.g., a chair cylinder, at virtually most furniture stores. And best of all, this process only takes a short time and doesn't require many specialized tools or an advanced level of expertise. In fact, by simply following your owner's manual instructions, you can easily add up to 7 years of service life to your chair - making it well worth the effort!


If All Else Fails – Replace Your Office Chair

Your office chair and desk are essential parts of your workstation. However, even high-quality chairs and desks aren't built to last forever and will need to be replaced after several years of use (6 to 8 years into their service life).

Don't hesitate to get a new chair if the old one gives you constant sinking issues–especially if all other maintenance measures fail. And if you're stuck on where to begin, browse through our catalog. All our office chairs feature advanced hydraulic cylinders that will outlive their warranty. You can also upgrade to a standing desk that will allow you to easily switch up your workstation to promote productivity and health.