Do you spend almost all day sitting in your office chair?
If you think about it, it’s no wonder it gets some wear and tear after a few years. It does a lot and goes through a lot for your ultimate comfort.
The most common office chair problem is that it keeps sinking. We’re not going to talk about that here, though.
We’re going to talk about another less common but still frustrating problem…
Your office chair won’t sink!
You can’t lower it to the level most comfortable for you.
If you’re facing this problem today, we’re here to help. Instead of replacing your office chair, we’ll teach you how to fix it yourself.
Table of Contents
How Do Office Chair Height Adjustments Work?
Before we get to that, it’s important to first know how the height adjustments work. You won’t be able to understand the problem until you’re familiar with the basic mechanics.
Some office chairs use hydraulic cylinders for height adjustments. Others use pneumatic cylinders.
Of course, both have their differences. This is because hydraulic uses a liquid or lubricant, while pneumatic uses gas.
However, when it comes to mechanical workings, both are the same.
If you lift the height adjustment lever in an office chair, that presses a button in the cylinder. The button then releases liquid or gas through valves to push a piston upward. This piston carries the weight of the chair and makes it rise.
Once you release the lever, the valves will close. This secures the office chair in the height it is in.
To lower the height, pull the lever again to open up the valves. This time, you need to add weight so that the piston can’t carry it and it’ll sink.
This is a simple explanation of the mechanics of an office chair’s height adjustments.
If you want a better idea on how cylinders work, check out this video:
How to Fix an Office Chair That Won’t Sink Down
There are 3 possible reasons your office chair doesn’t sink.
The first could be because of weight. Another reason could be because of the lever. And lastly, it could be the cylinder itself.
Let’s take a close look at each and see how to fix it.
1. How To Fix The Weight Problem
If your office chair refuses to sink, maybe it’s because you’re too light.
As you already know, the piston in the cylinder can carry a certain amount of weight. When the valves open, the piston pushes upward by compressed gas or liquid, raising it. This then raises the height of an office chair.
If you’re too light, the piston will be able to carry your weight. In this case, the office chair won’t sink even when you’re sitting on it.
To fix it, try bouncing a bit on the seat to make yourself heavier when you lift the lever. Or, get someone heavy enough to make the cylinder’s piston go down.
This is a simple problem with a very simple solution.
2. How To Fix The Lever Problem
If that doesn’t work, the problem might be the lever.
You learned that the lever, when lifted, pushes a button that opens up the cylinder’s valves.
Sometimes, the lever can get very loose, especially if you’re always using it. Once it loosens, it won’t be strong enough to push down on the button.
The obvious solution to that is to tighten it.
How do you do that?
The first step is to remove the seat. How you remove it will depend on what type of office chair you have. Don’t worry, it’s usually easy.
With the seat gone, you’ll see the cylinder’s housing. Some office chairs have a covering for the housing, which you’ll need to remove.
Look for a set screw that connects to the lever in the housing. This set screw is the one that tightens and loosens the lever.
When you find it, use a screwdriver to turn the screw clockwise, tightening it.
When finished, put everything back together and there you have it. Your office chair will be able to sink and rise as you want it to.
Check out this video to see how it’s done:
3. How to Fix the Cylinder Problem
If the problem is because of a faulty cylinder, you’ll need to replace it.
The thought might scare you. But you’ll be surprised at how easy it is. Not to mention, how much cheaper it’ll be when compared to buying a new office chair.
The first step is probably the hardest…
…it’s finding a replacement.
You need to make sure the new cylinder matches the old one. If not, then it won’t fit.
You can ask the office chair manufacturers about it. They might even offer you a new cylinder.
Another thing you can do is bring the old cylinder along with you when buying a new one. Or, you can ask a salesperson or surf the internet on what matches and all that.
Click here for different hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders available online.
Once you find a new one, it’s all easy going from there.
Turn your office chair upside down.
Spray WD-40 where the cylinder goes through the base and housing. This is to lubricate it and make it easier to remove.
Remember, the longer you make the WD-40 sit, the smoother and easier it’ll be to remove the cylinder. Whether from the base or housing.
After that, use the rubber mallet or hammer to gently knock the base off.
If it doesn’t budge, try hitting a bit harder. If that still doesn’t work, add more WD-40 and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
To remove the cylinder from the housing, use the pipe wrench or vice grip. Turn it clockwise until the cylinder loosens and falls off.
To make it easier, place the pipe wrench or vice grip as close as possible to the base of the housing.
When you’re done with that, you’ve successfully removed the old cylinder.
To assemble it all back, slip the bottom of the cylinder through the base. Then, place the chair’s housing inside the top of the cylinder. Sit on it to make everything come together.
As simple as that!
Here’s a helpful video to show you how it’s done:
Related post: Can Office Chairs Explode?
How to Determine the Problem?
If your office chair doesn’t sink, how do you know what the problem is?
Well, there are several ways you can determine that.
First, you should always check if it’s a weight problem. This won’t take a minute of your time.
You don’t want to go through the steps of replacing your cylinder when you only needed more weight to fix it.
When determining between a lever or cylinder problem, it gets a bit tricky.
Usually, if it’s the lever, your office chair won’t be able to adjust its height at all. This is because it’s too loose to press the button.
A cylinder problem, on the other hand, might still raise your office chair, no matter how slowly. Then again, sometimes it also doesn’t rise if the cylinder is old and faulty.
If you’re unsure, try tightening the lever first. If that doesn’t work, the problem is the cylinder.
Another thing you can do is consult a professional so that you don’t have to check it yourself.
If your office chair refuses to go down, you don’t have to rush to buy a new one. You can try any of these 3 ways to get it sinking to a comfortable level.
You don’t need a professional to do it. It’s so easy to do it yourself!
My name is Vance, and I am the owner of To Ergonomics. Our mission is to improve your workflow by helping you create a supportive and welcoming environment. We hope that you’ll find what you’re looking for while you’re here.