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Office chairs use a pneumatic cylinder that controls the height of the chair through pressurized air. The cylinder on most chairs fails within a few years, typically because the seals are too damaged to maintain pressure. You can buy a replacement cylinder to restore full function to your chair, but this is nearly as expensive as buying a replacement. Try following simple DIY method instead to fix your chair at one convenient height.
Using PVC Pipe
1. Measure your chair's cylinder. Pull down the plastic skirt cover the extendable, metal cylinder. Estimate the diameter of the cylinder by holding a ruler across it horizontally. Also measure the length of the cylinder when the chair is at the perfect height.
-You shouldn't need an exact measurement, but you can calculating the diameter from the circumference if you prefer to be precise.
2. Buy a length of PVC pipe. This pipe will fit over the pneumatic cylinder of the chair. It should be about the same size as the cylinder diameter, or slightly larger. Pipe 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in diameter works well for most models.Buy enough straight pipe to extend from the wheel base of your chair to the seat, when the chair is at the preferred height.
-The pipe does not have to be in one piece. It may be easier to work with in smaller pieces, although you can easily cut it yourself at home.
- One user reports using a tall stack of plastic shower rings instead of PVC pipe. These are even cheaper and easier to install, but they may not be sturdy enough to support your weight. Try at your own risk.
3. Saw through the PVC pipe lengthwise. Secure the pipe in a vise. Use a hacksaw or back saw to cut through the pipe from tip to tip, but only on one side. The end result should be a pipe with a slit in it, not two half-pipes.
- Wearing a mask or respirator is recommended while cutting PVC to avoid inhaling irritating particles.
- If you do not have a vise or cutting tools, just leave the pipe intact and remove the chair's wheels so you can slide on the pipe. In most cases, you can remove the wheel base by pressing a retaining clip on the underside with a screwdriver.
4. Snap the pipe onto the chair cylinder. Pull the chair's plastic skirt up or down to reveal the metal cylinder. Push the slit side of the PVC pipe against the cylinder to snap it around the cylinder. It should now hold the chair in place, preventing it from sliding down.
- If you're having trouble snapping the pipe on, saw it into shorter pieces and try again.
5. Add more pipe to adjust the height of the chair. If the chair is still too low, raise it and snap on another piece of pipe. You will not be able to lower the chair again without removing the pipe, so make sure you set it to the perfect height.