How To Fix An Office Chair That Won’t Stay Up?


Most office chairs use an air cylinder system located on the vertical beam of the unit. The air cylinder is the lift mechanism that allows you to adjust the height of your chair. It also supports the seat and connects the chair to the wheelbase.

If your chair is older, lift tension can lessen and your chair will sink. The culprit is likely to be a faulty air cylinder.

You can correct this in few easy steps. Here’s how to fix an office chair that won’t stay up.

Option 1: Jubilee Clip/Hose Clamp Method

Note: This is a temporary fix and you won’t be able to freely adjust the height of the chair.

This is a simple and inexpensive method.

You will need:

  1. Jubilee clip (UK term) or hose clamp (US term) wide enough to wrap round the air cylinder. A jubilee clip is typically used to secure hosepipes on taps. It is cheap and available in most local hardware stores.
  2. Duct tape
  3. Screwdriver

Follow these steps to fix your sinking chair:

  • Move the protective cover on the vertical beam to expose the air cylinder.
  • Set the chair to your preferred height.

Tip: The recommended height is one where you can easily place both feet on the ground and bend your knees and hips at a 90° angle. This means that the chair should be at knee level or slightly over while standing. Remember you will not be able to adjust your chair after this fix.

  • Unscrew the jubilee clip ready to install.
  • To ensure a firm grip, use duct tape to line the air cylinder. Cover the entire length with at least two layers of tape.
  • Now, clamp the jubilee clip in place. Double check to make sure the height is ideal. Screw the clip firmly and the install is done.
  • Finally, test the chair to confirm that it supports your weight without sinking.
  • If the height is too high or too low, simply unscrew the clamp and reinstall to your desired height using the same steps.

Option 2: PVC Pipe Method

Note: Similar to the first option above, this method is a short-term solution and limits your freedom to adjust the height.

You will need:

  1. A tape measure
  2. PVC pipe with the same diameter as your chair’s air cylinder
  3. Vice
  4. PVC-cutting tool or saw blade
  5. Strong PVC adhesive

Follow these steps:

  • Move the protective cover on the vertical beam to expose the air cylinder.
  • Use the tape measure to get the diameter of the air cylinder.
  • Set the chair to your preferred height and get the exact measurement.
  • You will need a PVC pipe that is slightly wider than the diameter of the air cylinder. It should be long enough to fit the cylinder to your preferred height.
  • Use the vice to hold the PVC pipe and cut it to the exact length. You could also opt to use a number of smaller pieces for an easy fix.
  • Now create a single lengthwise slit on the pipe. This will make it easy to insert the pipe over the cylinder.
  • Make sure the chair is at your ideal height and seal the slit with a strong PVC adhesive.

Tip: Working with the PVC without slitting the side may be more efficient. Remove the wheel base of your chair and slide the pipe on. Reinstall the base and check the height.  Add more PVC pieces if required and firmly secure the base on.

Option 3: Replace The Air Cylinder

Note: This is a more permanent approach and is highly recommended for long-term results. It also gives you the freedom to control the height of your chair. This solution, however, is relatively expensive.

You can easily get replacement parts for your office chair from local home-improvement stores or hardware suppliers. Plenty of online stores also supply replacement parts.

Tip: An industry standard size chair cylinder will fit most office chairs. Only buy from accredited suppliers or check with the chair manufacturer to ensure you get the best quality product that will last a long time.

Installing or replacing the air cylinder is not difficult. Simply follow the handy tips on the instruction manual.

Final Words

Are you looking for more tips and easy follow guides? Here’s how to adjust office chair tilt.