If you find yourself having to constantly adjust your office chair because it won't stay at the height you want, it may be because the pneumatic cylinder (also called gas lift) is either leaking gas or simply stopped functioning altogether. Here are a few reasons why this may have happened and how you can fix the problem.

Reasons the Pneumatic Pump Stops Working

Most office chairs use pressurized nitrogen gas to power the springs that lift the seats. The gas exists in a closed system, meaning the chair reuses the same gas over and over again to power the lift. If everything is functioning normally, the gas should power the chair throughout its expected life span, and you shouldn't have to refill it at any time.

However, if the gas starts leaking from its enclosed area or if it becomes inert, the spring will have a difficult time maintaining its position, which causes the seat to slowly sink downward each time you sit in it. There are several things that can cause this issue:

  1. Manufacturer defect – This may be the issue if you begin experiencing slow seat drops shortly after purchasing your office chair. Most office chairs come with limited manufacturer warranties that cover defects like this. To get your chair fixed for free, you would need to contact the manufacturer and follow their directions for getting either a replacement part or sending the chair to their factory to be fixed.
  2. Inert gas – On the other hand, if your chair is several years old, it's likely the gas has reached the end of its life span. The shelf-life of nitrogen gas is about 3 years, so if you've had the chair for longer than that, it may be time to replace the pneumatic lift part or the entire chair.
  3. Overuse – A third and more common reason why the gas lift stops working is because it was overused. This can happen if someone who exceeds the weight rating sits in the chair on a regular basis (e.g., someone who weighs 250 pounds sitting in a chair rated for people who weigh 200 pounds) or if you use the chair for longer period of time than the chair was designed for (e.g., 12 hours a day when the chair is rated for 8). Either issue can cause the pneumatic lift to wear out faster or to develop micro-cracks that let allow the gas to escape.

It's important to determine the reason why your gas lift failed. If it was because of the third issue, you may want to purchase a different chair that's designed for your body composition and/or the amount of time you sit in it.

Options for Fixing the Problem

When it comes to fixing this problem, you only have a limited number of options. If you're feeling handy, one option is to contact the manufacturer and order a replacement gas lift. Installing a new gas lift is fairly easy to do, but it may take some time, and you'll need some tools, such as a rubber mallet, screwdriver, and lubricant. Some office supply stores will make this repair for you, so it's a good idea to contact one for assistance if you're not comfortable fixing the chair yourself.

The other option is to completely replace the chair and recycle or give away your old one. This is a good choice if, as mentioned previously, the chair didn't properly fit your needs. Taking time to shop for an office chair that's rated for your lifestyle will help you save money by ensuring the piece lasts as long as expected.

For more information about this issue or help replacing your broken office chair, contact an office supply store.