How to Fix an Office Chair That Won’t Stay Up (Plus Video)

How to fix an office chair that won't stay up


Ever sat in an office chair that keeps sinking when you sit on it but seems just fine when you get up?

Frustrating, right? The chair might be fairly new and still in good shape, but it just won’t stay up. Your productivity at work immediately starts taking a dive. After all, you can’t work efficiently with your chin almost touching your desk.

Don’t throw that chair away yet, it’s not a complete mess. You don’t want to spend money buying a brand new chair when you can fix this faulty one yourself. Surprised? Let’s look at a few tips on how to fix an office chair that won’t stay up. ​

TL;DR. No problem! Just check out this video on how to fix a sinking office chair.

How Does an Office Chair Work?

A pneumatic office chair is made up of these major components:

  1. Base; consists of three or four wheels
  2. Gas cylinder; contains pressurized air that controls the height of the chair
  3. Seat; contains a plate that’s connected to the adjustable lever
  4. Padded backrest

3. The Bookworm

When the office chair is empty, the chair is at maximum height because, the pressure of the gas in the cylinder greater than the atmospheric pressure. When you sit on the chair, you push the lever and the piston moves into the chamber. 

This action compresses the air in the chamber and increases the pressure to provide resistance. This pneumatic system adjusts the height of the chair, enabling it to rise and sink to support your weight. If your chair sinks and can't stay up, it's a typical sign that the cylinder is faulty.

The obvious solution for this problem is replacing the cylinder. However, the cost of doing so could pay for a new chair. So, how can you fix an office chair that won't stay up?

Use a Hose Clamp

A hose clamp, also known as a jubilee clip is a device used to secure hose pipes on taps. You can easily find it at any hardware store. For this method, you will need a hose clamp that you can easily wrap around the cylinder, a screwdriver, and duct tape.

  1. Remove the Plastic Covering from the Cylinder

Generally, office chair cylinders have a protective plastic skirt that covers them. Slide it up or down until you can access the metallic cylinder.

  2. Adjust the Chair Height

Adjust the chair to your preferred height. It's important to set the height at this point because you’ll find it more difficult to do after the whole process. Make sure that the seat is at the same level as your knees when you're standing.

  3. Wrap the Clamp Around the Cylinder

Release the screw on the clamp by turning the screw anti-clockwise, then pull out the belt. Loosely wrap the hose clamp around the cylinder.

  4. Wrap Duct Tape Around the Cylinder

Duct tape will give the clamp the firm grip it needs to secure the chair up. Wrap the duct tape around the uppermost visible part of the chair cylinder. If you don't have duct tape, you can use a strip of rubber.

  5. Fasten the Clamp

Once again make sure that the chair is at your desired height. Then slide the clamp to the topmost part of the cylinder and tighten it by fastening the rotating screw.

  6. Test Your Chair

Sit on the chair to test whether it has stopped sinking. Your chair should not slide down below the clamp. If the height is still not desirable, undo the rotating screw and adjust the clamp.

Use a PVC Pipe

For this method, you will need a PVC pipe (with a slightly larger diameter than the metallic cylinder), a ruler/tape measure, a PVC cutting device or saw, a vice (for securing the pipe).

  1. Measure the Cylinder

Remove the protective plastic skirt that covers the cylinder. Hold the ruler horizontally across the cylinder to estimate the diameter. Adjust the chair to the right height then measure the length of the cylinder. A precise measurement is not necessary however if you are a stickler for accuracy, calculate the diameter of the cylinder using its circumference.

  2. Acquire a PVC pipe

The pipe should fit well over the chair cylinder. A 1.5-inch diameter pipe generally works best for several models. The pipe should also be long enough to cover the chair cylinder from the seat level to the wheelbase while the chair is at the perfect height.

  3. Cut the Pipe Lengthwise

Before cutting the pipe, make sure you have a protective mask so that you don't inhale any particles in the process. Hold your pipe securely with a vise and start cutting the pipe lengthwise on one side only. The outcome should not be two half-pipes but a slit pipe. If you don't own any cutting tools or a vice, leave the pipe in one piece, remove the wheels from the chair and slide the pipe onto the cylinder.

  4. Fix the PVC Pipe Onto the Cylinder

Remove the protective plastic skirt by pulling it up or down to access the cylinder. Push the slit of the pipe onto the cylinder so that it snaps on. The pipe should be able to secure the chair and prevent it from sinking. In some cases, snapping the slit pipe on might be difficult. If this happens, cut the pipe into shorter pieces, then snap them on one by one.

  5. Test and Adjust the Chair

Sit on the office chair to test if it is at the right height. If it is too low, simply raise it by snapping on more pieces of slit PVC pipe. Make sure it’s at the perfect height because you will only lower it by taking out the pipe.

The Bottom Line

Say goodbye to that annoying chair that keep sinking – not by getting rid of them. These two methods will effectively help you to fix an office chair that won’t stay up and save you some money in the process. The tools cost almost nothing and are easy to find. So, the next time you're wondering how to fix an office chair that won't stay up, you know exactly what to do.

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