An office chair that won’t stay up sinking as soon as you sit in it is really frustrating. Usually it will stay up when you’re not in it and yet as soon as you sit in it down it goes.
Why does this happen and what can you do about it?
How a pneumatic gas lift works
This sketch shows what a gas strut looks like. On top is the button, it acts like an on off switch.
When it’s off or raised it holds the strut at whatever length it happens to be at.
When you operate the height control usually with a lever or paddle it depresses the button and this turns on an internal control valve.
The pressure of your body weight then makes the gas in the cylinder compress so lowering the chair.
And when you operate the lever while lifting your weight the gas expands and raises the seat height.
So much for how it works, what’s going wrong when the cylinder no longer holds its position?
There are normally one of two causes, let’s look at them.
The gas strut is defective
Quite simply the strut is worn out. Due to wear it’s no longer able to hold its pressure when weight is applied. When this happens the best course of action is to replace it. Although it may be possible to apply a fix as we’ll see shortly. On to cause two.
The adjuster isn’t engaging properly
Frequently the cause of the problem is due to the adjustment lever not operating as it should. Levers can become jammed or misaligned and apply continual pressure to the button resulting in that sinking feeling.
Now we know what might be happening what are your options?
How to fix things
As previously mentioned a defective strut is best replaced. However, a new product called the chair saver offers a low cost solution this article explains how it works.
Where the lever is the culprit, there’s a good chance you can sort it out. Take a look under the chair and see if the lever appears to have become dislodged or jammed and try and push it back into place. It may be slightly distorted and just need bending to make it engage the cylinder button properly.
Where you’re in an office with the same model of chair in use, take a look at them side by side. Compare the 2 chairs for any differences it may well help sort out what is wrong.
And if that doesn’t work, the chair saver should work for this problem too.
Ultimately, if the chair is a number of years old, it may well be time to bite the bullet and buy a new one. This article explains what to look for when selecting a new computer chair.