How to Fix a Sinking Office Chair

Good office chairs aren’t cheap, especially when you make sure that they’re ergonomic and comfortable enough to last us for the long workdays we endure. Even after all of that, it feels like it just stops working after only a couple of years sitting in our chair.

While it might look new and in great shape, the chair won’t stay in place and sinks. Whether you’ve spent $200 on an office chair or more, nobody should have to put up with a sinking office chair.

So, should you just throw out your sinking office chair, or should you learn how to fix a sinking office chair? You’ll save a lot of money by trying to fix a sinking office chair.

Anatomy of an Office Chair

Before you begin fixing your sinking office chair, you need to know its anatomy. Don’t worry; we’re not going into technicalities here – we’ll keep it simple. Basically, there are two types of fluid technologies used by office chairs – pneumatic and hydraulic.

Hydraulic chairs use impressible liquid, while pneumatic chairs use compressible gases. Pneumatic systems are found mostly in computer chairs, but hydraulic generates more power, so it’s most commonly used in large pieces of machinery.

If your office chair keeps sinking, it’s probably using a pneumatic fluid technology. So, what components are used in these types of office chairs, and how does that relate to why I need to fix a sinking office chair over time?

Pneumatic Chair Components

  • 3-5 wheels
  • Padded back support
  • Lever on the bottom of the chair to adjust the height
  • Small gas lift cylinder for height adjustment

Hydraulic Chair Components

  • Base chamber and seat
  • Two hollow chambers: one holding pressurized gas while the other contains compressible liquid
  • A hollow conduit to connect both chambers
  • A lever to adjust the height of the chair

Why Does My Office Chair Sink?

A sinking office chair doesn’t mean that the chair itself is bad. In fact, there’s a simple explanation as to why the office chair is sinking: the chair cylinder has lost its lift.

The chair cylinder is the part on the chair connecting the seat to the base, and it also makes it so we can adjust our office chair. The cylinder contains nitrogen gas, and when you raise and lower the chair, the gas switches chambers inside the chair cylinder. This allows the chair to raise and lower.

However, with excessive use over time, the seal on your chair’s cylinder can start to wear out and cause a leak. That’s what causes your office chair to sink. An uncomfortable office chair makes swiveling around the desk difficult and while an orbiting monitor stand boosts your efficiency from any angle, you will always eventually need to get the sinking chair out of the picture.

So, what can you do to fix a sinking office chair? We outline all the options to fix a sinking office chair below.

How to Fix a Sinking Office Chair

Option 1: Use Duct Tape and Hose Clamp

Duct Tape

A common DIY hack or quick fix uses duct tape and a hose clamp. This option doesn’t actually completely fix a sinking office chair. Rather, this is a temporary fix. For this option to work, the hose clamp has to be 13/16”-1-3/4” diameter or a size 20.

You place a hose clamp around the cylinder piston at the desired chair height, and the clamp is a stop. The duct tape will then be wrapped around the clamp to prevent it from sliding.

You should know that this option will only work for a couple of days before the chair starts sinking again. Also, this isn’t very professional looking for your home or office.

Option 2: Use a PVC Pipe/Plastic Spacer

Another DIY hack uses a PVC pipe or a plastic spacer to prevent the office chair cylinder from sinking. If you cut the plastic spacer down the middle, you can wrap it around the cylinder piston. If you’re using PVC or an uncut spacer, there’s some extra work involved: you have to take apart the cylinder so you can slide the PVC or spacer onto the cylinder.

This option acts as a stop, as the clamp, and doesn’t allow for any height adjustments after it’s put on. A major downside to this method is that the plastic can break over time from the stress of you sitting in your chair. Again, this method isn’t very suitable for professional workspaces.

Option 3: Replace the Office Chair Cylinder (Recommended)

The other two options listed above are only temporary fixes, only allow you to sit at one height, and aren’t professional looking. So, we recommend replacing the office chair cylinder to fix a sinking office chair. You should do this regardless of how much your office chair cost.

Replacing the cylinder is much simpler than you might imagine and will have your chair in tip-top shape in no time.

95% of office chairs are built the same, so many parts are easily replaced, including the cylinder. So, finding and buying a new cylinder to fix a sinking office chair shouldn’t be difficult.

How to Fix a Sinking Office Chair: When to Replace Your Chair

Office chair with table
Source: Shutterstock

On some occasions, replacing the chair’s cylinder isn’t enough to fix a sinking office chair. Chairs have finite lives, just like every other item in our lives. This means that you’ll eventually have to replace it.

If you find that your office chair will no longer stay up, even after replacing the cylinder, and you no longer feel comfortable in your office chair, it might be time to replace your office chair.

Conclusion

There are three main options available when it comes to how to fix a sinking office chair. The first two methods, using a clamp and plastic spacer, are temporary fixes that will look very professional while only allowing you to sit at one height.

The third option is our recommended option because it’s the one that’s going to be a permanent fix, professional, and will make your chair brand new: replace the chair cylinder.

Replacing the cylinder to fix a sinking office chair isn’t difficult if you follow the directions that come with the office chair cylinder and can be done in minutes. Additionally, since most office chairs are built the same, you can easily find a replacement cylinder part!

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