Why Does My Office Chair Keep Sinking? Here’s Why & What To Do About It

By Robert David Orr / Last updated: Nov 3, 2022

If you’ve ever experienced a sinking office chair, then you already know how frustrating it can be. But if you’re not sure why your chair sinks, and you need a fix for the problem, then read on. We’ll go over everything you need to know about office chairs, including why they sink, how to prevent it, and how to fix it when it happens.

There are 7 main reasons why your office chair is sinking:

  1. Too much weight (office chairs have a maximum weight capacity)
  2. Poor maintenance (not following manufacturer guidelines for taking care of your chair)
  3. Improper use (using the chair in a way it wasn’t designed for)
  4. Abuse (using an office chair in a manner it was not designed to accommodate)
  5. Improper assembly (getting in a hurry to complete the assembly can cause problems)
  6. Overuse (some chairs aren’t designed for high usage)
  7. Faulty parts (sometimes you just get a dud)

So should you just buy a new chair?

What can you do to fix it?

Can it be fixed?

Can you replace the gas cylinder?

All these questions and more are answered below and I’ll show you exactly what you need to do to solve this problem yourself.

Real quick: before we get too far along here, if you want to get more great ideas for your gaming room or home office and connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks here.

Why do office chairs sink?

Why do office chairs sink?

Office furniture is meant to support us while we work. But it doesn’t always live up to expectations. If you’re tired of sinking into your seat every day, there are ways to fix the problem.

Most office chairs come with a warranty. Before purchasing a new chair, check with the manufacturer to see what type of warranty it offers. Some companies offer free repairs or replacements within the warranty period.

In addition to checking the warranty, make sure the manufacturer provides customer service. Many companies offer free repairs or replacement of defective products. In fact, many manufacturers even provide free shipping. This way, you won’t have to worry about paying for delivery costs.

Is is possible to fix a sinking desk chair?

Sometimes you’d rather just fix the chair you already have rather than replace it.

It could be because it’s comfy and fits your body like a glove.

It could be because you love the style of the chair.

Or maybe you just don’t want to spend the money and hate shopping for new stuff.

Whatever the reason, there are things you can do to keep your existing chair from sinking.

So what if you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a new one? What if you want to keep the old one around? Is it possible to fix a sinking chair?

The good news is that, in most instances, you can easily – and quickly – fix your sinking desk chair!

And what makes it better is that it can be really cheap to do so.

Let’s take a look.

How to stop an office chair from sinking

The most common cause of a chair sinking into the floor is a worn out pneumatic lift. The bottom line is that, at the very least, these pneumatic cylinders just wear out over time (or for any of the other reasons mentioned above).

But that doesn’t mean that you have to replace your whole chair.

There are a few different clever ways you can fix your worn out pneumatic cylinder without breaking the bank.

How to fix a sinking desk chair

if you love your office chair and you’re not quite ready to throw it away, all it takes is a little creativity, ingenuity, and patience to fix it.

Here are a few things you can do to keep it working.

Option 1: Use a Hose Clamp & Duct Tape

Is there anything that duct tape can’t fix?

By using an automotive hose clamp and some duct tape, you can easily fix a failing cylinder.

You won’t be able to adjust the height once you’ve got the solution in place, but it’s cheaper than buying a brand new office chair.

Start by setting your office chair to the preferred height, then wrap the hose clamp on the stem of the hydraulic cylinder, get it good and tight, then secure it with a piece of duct tape.

The end result will stabilize your chair so you can keep using it until you’re ready to replace your chair.

One good option for a hose clamp is what’s called a Jubilee clip. Jubilee is a brand name, but kind of like Q-Tips and Kleenex, the name has become synonymous with their function. You’ll find them at hardware stores and even big box retailers like Ace Hardware.

Option 2: Use a Plastic Spacer / PVC Pipe

If you’re looking for a quick and dirty way to keep your desk chair from sinking using a spacer or a piece of PVC pipe will do the trick.

You can find it at your local hardware store, and the whole thing should cost less than $10.

To install it, simply remove the seat from the lifting mechanism of your chair, and slide the PVC spacer onto the stem of the pneumatic lift.

if you want to get fancy with it and you don’t want to take your office chair apart in order to put the spacer on, you can simply cut it length-wise and slide it over the stem.

Option 3: Replace the Pneumatic Cylinder

If you still want the ability to raise and lower your chair then the simplest option is just replacing the pneumatic lift.

You can get really high quality replacement cylinders on Amazon a lot cheaper than the cost of replacing your entire chair.

In fact, for around $20 you can get a cylinder replacement with 1,000 lb capacity.

It’s usually pretty easy to swap out the old one for a new one, and if you’re handy around the house, this is probably the best option for you.

DOZYANT Gas Lift Cylinder Heavy Duty (450 lbs) Universal Size Fits Most Executive Chairs

  • HEAVY DUTY Gas lift cylinder that holds great weights – tall center support column of the chair. Holds up to 450 lbs on most office, executive and computer chairs. Highest End Class 4 gas cylinder on market.
  • STANDARD CYLINDER DIAMETER: Outer cylinder: 2 inches, Inner cylinder: 1.1 inches. Please confirm the measurement before ordering./li>

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Walmart

DOZYANT 6″ Long Stroke Office Chair Gas Lift Cylinder Heavy Duty (450 lbs) for Tall Person Universal Size Fits Most Executive Chairs

  • 6″ STROKE FOR ADJUSTING CHAIR HEIGHT: Minimum length: 11.2 inches; maximum length when fully extended: 17.2 inches; adjustable range: 6 inches
  • HEAVY DUTY Gas lift cylinder that holds great weights – tall center support column of the chair. Holds up to 450 lbs on most office, executive and computer chairs. Highest End Class 4 gas cylinder on market.

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Walmart

5.5 inch Office Chair Gas Lift Cylinder-Office Chair Replacement Parts, Universal Size Fits Most Chairs, Heavy Duty Gas Lift 

  • [Adjustable height 5.5 inches]: The height of the fully compressed chair piston is: 11.4 inches, the fully expanded height is: 16.9 inches, it has an adjustable height of 5.5 inches, which allows you to rise higher (Note: higher than normal cylinder, measured before purchase)
  • [Universal size] This hydraulic piston is suitable for almost all office chairs (salon chairs, executive chairs, work chairs, rolling stools) on the market, and has a better load-bearing capacity. The office chair piston maximum weight it supports is 1000Lbs, which is much heavier than ordinary gas cylinder for office chair

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Walmart

What are the causes of a sinking office chair?

Before you can go about fixing any issue associated with your desk chair it’s important to know what’s causing the problem because if you don’t know what’s causing the issue, the solution you choose to fix it might not work.

So let’s take a look at what causes your office chair to sink.

1. Excessive weight

If you sit down for long periods of time, your body weight can cause the chair to sink. You might want to take some breaks every now and again to prevent fatigue.

2. Poor maintenance

You should check your chair regularly to make sure there aren’t any loose screws or bolts. If you find anything out of place, tighten it up immediately.

3. Improper use

Some chairs are made to be used in specific environments. For instance, some chairs are built for computer users. They may not be suitable for other uses such as use in a workshop or garage.

Another example could be something like if you lean forward too much while sitting, you run the risk of putting excessive pressure on the edge of the chair putting the hydraulic system under strain.

4. Abuse

When you use an office chair for a purpose other than which it was designed, it should come as no surprise that it won’t perform properly.

An example of this (and one many of us would be guilt of) is using it as a step stool to reach something you can’t otherwise reach. The movement, pressure, and weight of stepping up onto a chair can cause damage to the chair.

5. Improper Assembly

Shortcuts and impatience often result in the improper assembly of office chairs and that can cause problems. Some chairs require special tools to assemble them correctly. If you didn’t follow the instructions when assembling your chair, then the parts may not fit properly resulting in problems.

6. Overuse

Overusing your chair will eventually lead to its failure. If you’re exceeding the usage scenario your chair was designed for by using it too much, chances are it’s going to start sagging.

This is especially a problem for cheap office chairs.

7. Faulty Parts

Sometimes you just got a dud and the part that you received with your chair is not up to par or has been damaged during shipment.

Sometimes it happens where your chair may have had its parts damaged during shipment to your home.

When should you just buy a new chair?

The average lifespan of a regular office chair is about three to five years. For high-end ergonomic office chairs you can expect that to be much more, 10-20 years.

As an example, Herman Miller office chairs have a 12 year warranty.

And of course, you’re going to pay a lot more for the high end chairs because they’re made better and last considerably longer.

That said, if your office chair is showing signs of wear and tear, it might just be time to replace it if it’s sinking and the lift no longer works.

There are many factors that contribute to how much longer an office chair lasts. These include the type of material used in making the chair, the size of the chair, the quality of the materials used, and the overall engineering and design of the chair.

We recommend that, if it’s time to give up on your old office chair that you make sure you buy an ergonomically designed chair. An ergonomic chair is much better for your body because it helps keep your spine aligned properly, reduces stress on your joints, and improves blood circulation.

Next Steps

Want to connect with other remote workers, contractors, freelancers, gamers and people who work from home who are creating the most amazing home offices and get more tips, tricks and hacks on how to make your home office or gaming room setup the best it can be?

Join my brand new free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks to connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best!

Robert David Orr

Robert is a writer & creator, author of the WordPress Website Blueprint, award winning web developer, and leader in digital strategy. He's also a tenured work at home veteran who's been working from home for more than 10 years. Learn more. Got questions? Reach out and connect here - Contact Home Office Hacks here.

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