Chair trouble? When you spend a lot of time at your desk, you'll eventually encounter that "sinking feeling" both figuratively and literally when your chair refuses to rise to the occasion. But don't feel "low." Instead, learn how to fix an office chair that won't stay up. It's surprisingly simple, fortunately.
Office Chairs, Right?
If you're like me and spend a lot of money on your office chair (and a lot of time in it), the moment it stops going up is the moment your heart stops. You're stuck. And you probably find yourself in an uncomfortable position.
Many things can go wrong with office chairs. Fortunately, if your chair won't lift, you'll find the problem pretty simple to diagnose. And even more fortunately, you won't have too many problems fixing it.
What's wrong with my chair?
Whether you spend $50 or $500 or even $2,000 on an office chair, if you keep it around long enough, you're going to eventually find yourself stuck on the ground. Or even worse -- you'll find your chair raising when you stand and sinking when you sit.
While many problems could have multiple causes, this one is singular. It's your gas cylinder, full stop. Inside this cylinder is nitrogen gas. When you pull the lever to raise or lower your chair, the gas switches chambers inside. This allows it to move up and down.
Eventually, the cylinder will begin to wear out. And when it wears out, it will leak. And when it leaks, your chair will have a harder time going up. Eventually, it will stop altogether.
Now, you have two options. You can buy a new chair -- something that is unappealing if you have a pricier chair. Or you can fix it. This method doesn't take very long. You'll find it inexpensive. And it's so easy that a child could do it!
So, How to Fix an Office Chair That Won’t Stay Up?
Did we mention that figuring out how to fix an office chair that won't stay up won't challenge you too much? We're going to give you two solutions: a permanent one and an optional temporary one that will hold your chair at a decent height until you have the time to fix it permanently.
The quick temporary "fix"
You know the saying, "Duct tape fixes everything?" Go grab a roll. While you're at it, pick up a size 20 (13/16 inch - 1 3/4 inch diameter) hose clamp. These two items will allow you to adjust your chair to the exact height you need.
First, set your chair height to whatever you prefer. You'll need to hold it still, so you'll love having a helper if you can find someone.
Grab your hose clamp and place it around the cylinder piston at the level you wish. This will act as a stop and prevent your chair from moving.
The duct tape? You'll want to wrap that around the piston above the clamp. This will help further prevent it from sliding.
Unfortunately, this looks ugly. It's also, as we mentioned, temporary. You can't adjust the height. And after a few days, you can expect your chair to start sliding again.
The permanent solution
If you want to figure out how to fix an office chair that won't stay up, you'll need to get down and dirty. The only true solution is to replace the gas cylinder.
Unfortunately, this one will take a couple of days -- specifically, the amount of time it takes to ship a new cylinder to your home. Cylinders come in 4-inch to 10-inch sizes. You may need any of them, depending on your chair. But 5 inches is the standard size, so you'll probably want that. Check with your chair manufacturer to learn the proper size.
You can either buy a replacement directly from the chair manufacturer or pick up a replacement kit. Either way, you will likely receive everything you need. But just in case, have an Allen wrench handy. You'll need it. You'll also want a hammer and a flathead screwdriver. Some WD-40 won't hurt either.
Once you have the new cylinder, you can knock this process off your to-do list in very little time.
Getting the job done
Now that you have what you need, it's time to get to work! First, lay your chair on the floor so the front of the seat and the top of the back are on the floor.
Hold one of the base legs and apply firm upward pressure. Grab your hammer and strike the bottom of the rim area of the gas cylinder column. You'll see this poking out of the bottom of the base slightly. Keep banging away and rotate the column as you go. Eventually, the base of the chair will pull off.
If this doesn't work, use your flathead screwdriver to remove the clip and flat washer from the gas cylinder column. Lift the office chair base and the still-attached cylinder column. Turn them upside-down and use your mighty hammer to strike the rim area until it pops out.
Next, remove the seat plate from under the seat. Spray some WD-40 around the hole where you see the gas cylinder. Tap gently on all sides to help the WD-40 seep into the cracks.
Now, you have two choices. You can try to remove it now. Or you can go make a sandwich and take a break. The latter will give the WD-40 more time to work its magic. Either way, lift the seat plate and attached cylinder a few inches off the floor and strike the seat plate as close to the old cylinder as possible.
Installing the new cylinder is easy. Simply insert it into the hole. Set the base onto the column end of the cylinder and press down. Turn your chair upright. Now, put some weight on it to make sure it's all together.
Congratulations -- you now know how to fix an office chair that won't stay up!
Now that you know how to fix an office chair that won't stay up, you will be able to fix any issues that arise in the future.
Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Let us know in the comments below.