questionswhy is my desk chair dropping?

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It's most likely a leak in the gas cylinder that adjusts the height of the chair. I doubt there's anything you can do to fix it yourself.

Call the manufacturer - they may be able to provide you with a replacement.

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I agree with @durkzilla. It looks like it has a 5-year limited warranty. It's worth giving the manufacturer a call.

I'm curious though how they design a chair for only 3-5 hours of use per day.

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@durkzilla: That's what I was afraid of. Brand new chair, too. Bought it on Jan 2nd. If at all possible I want to avoid the hassle of returning it. I like the chair a lot, it is the most comfortable desk chair I have ever owned. (Wouldn't mind owning a Steelcase or Herman Miller, this is the best I could afford.)

Would an issue with the gas lift also cause the chair to occasionally spin on its own? That was a weird symptom I noticed a few times.

It is maddening because it seems fine, most of the time. I feel like I'm losing my mind because it isn't consistent at all.

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@thunderthighs: It has nothing to do with the user comfort, at least speaking from personal experience. My guess is it is more of an indication of longevity. Chairs rated for higher per-day use probably have a higher mean time to failure than those with lower use. Stamp on a rating for 3-5 days, and your average time to failure can be listed as longer if you list time of ownership instead of time of use.

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I'm sitting on a chair right now that I'm sure is at least ten years old. However (and this is going to be an unpopular however), I cannot imagine ever buying an office chair, something that I may end up sitting in upwards of 18 hours at a stretch, at Office Depot. Or Amazon, for that matter. I bought the chair at a place that specialized in office furniture (and I suspect I paid less for it than I'd have paid for something less worthy, and less well made, than I would have had I purchased a chair at OD).

Now, I know that some of the chairs on Amazon are probably the exact same thing I could get at the local Office Furniture store, but I like to try things out first.

Hopefully the manufacturer will be responsive, and you can get a replacement.

[I see one review that gives it a single star, and describes this problem. Is that your review, @apfrehm?]

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Are you absolutely sure it's the chair's fault? Could the cause be recent holiday excess? I know I put on a few pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years.

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@marcoselmalo: Yep, it is a "heavy duty" chair rated to 400 lbs. I'm well below that, and actually lost ~8 lbs in the past week. (Plenty more to lose...) It has only gotten worse in this last week, happening twice today!

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@shrdlu: Thought about doing something like that, but I have yet to find a comfortable, name-brand, affordable, big & tall office chair that I can also try on before using. This one I could. It was also the bottom of the list for price, so I know I'm getting what I paid for. It is still way better than the chair I bought from Ikea two years ago.

Still, I expected it to not have any problems for at least a week!

Nope, that review was not mine. I cringed when I saw it, it wasn't there while I was researching.

Here's hoping I hear back from the manufacturer on Monday or Tuesday. I will update here when I do.

Some day, when I have the money to cover it, I have every intention of buying a Steelcase Leap or something in that price range. Was spoiled with one of these when I didn't work from home, and have been wanting one ever since. Until then, I'm stuck with (usually) lower quality products.

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Pretty much every chair you can buy at Staples, Office Depot, or OfficeMax are not rated for eight hours a day of use.

It's pretty pathetic, if you think about it.

I'm still looking for the Herman Miller Aeron or Steelcase Leap or Think that I can afford...

I'm a telecommuter, spending 10 or more hours a day in my office chair. I'm on my fifth $200 chair in ten years - I would have been better off spending $700 and buying one good chair.

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@apfrehm: Do you do a lot of bending over to reach things on the floor? I believe this prematurely wears my chairs center pistion, it is a bad habit I am slowly breaking.
*edit just reread the question, after you come back it is lowered, never seen that. Just want to make sure I get the question, you can sit on the chair raised but when you get up it will lower?
Coworker prank?

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@durkzilla: I'd recommend the Herman Miller Embody.

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@caffeine_dude: Yeah, it is bizarre. I can sit on it just fine, go get a cup of coffee, come back, and feel like I just grew a few inches. It raises up fine, and I can sit down with no trouble.

Not a coworker prank, I work from home.

It sounds odd for a cylinder issue, I've heard of them dropping and not maintaining the old height, but not this. Unless it is some other malfunctions, I'm down to it being ghosts, aliens, or one of my house cats deliberately messing with my head. (None of them play with the lift arm.)

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@shawnmiller: That's twice as much as my fictional $700 budget, you know....

You have first hand experience with this marvel of ergonomic engineering?

I'm not sure my ample derrière is worthy of such a lofty pedestal.

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@durkzilla: I've had it for about a year. Bought it when I found a "reasonable" deal: http://deals.woot.com/deals/details/9fbe964f-f536-422b-b3fd-8bd24c0e237b/herman-miller-embody-chair

Like a fine wine, it gets better with age. Seriously: http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2009/04/29/boing-boing-video-re.html

My one and only complaint is that the side-to-side adjustment of the armrests don't hold their position firmly enough. I think I have a habit of pushing too hard on the armrests when getting up from the chair though.

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Let me put in a strong vote for the Steelcase. I'm not a fan of the Herman Miller things, and think they're a bit overpriced for what they are. I also don't think they hold up well long term. The chair I currently use is a Steelcase (it was around $200 or so in 2002, so newer than I thought).

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Wyndham Hotels which I tend to frequent when I can use the Herman Miller Aeron Chair. I find them to be the most comfortable I have used in a long while. A cheap chair, unfortunately, may do fairly well for a bit, but it is not going to wear well in my experience.

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@durkzilla: Doesn't Costco sell a Herman Miller for around $300?

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@marcoselmalo: Yep, they do. Three of them, but only the TaskPointe looks like it might be worth that much. The rest just don't look as comfortable.

http://www.costco.com/Common/Category.aspx?whse=BC&Ne=5000001&eCat=BC|1892|3207|76762|76776&N=4026615+4294904960&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ns=P_Price|1||P_SignDesc1&lang=en-US&hierPath=189232077676276776&topnav=

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@apfrehm: Giggle the arm that allows you to lower the chair. Giggle the whole chair, to me it almost sounds like the button to release the gas is getting pressed. Did you assemble the chair yourself?

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@caffeine_dude: Dam yer eyes! You made me spray coffee. I'll bet anything you meant to say "jiggle" the arm, instead of "giggle" (the picture that creates is wonderful, though). Exactly how do you "giggle" the whole chair? I picture you lifting it in the air, and then summoning your inner 14-year-old girl, and making many funny sounds.

Ah, yes, sometimes life is just good.

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@shrdlu: Wow, I need coffee before I post... I was reading my own post and almost spit out my energy drink on to the monitor and keyboard (honest that is why my keyboard is sticky) I do not even remember posting that!
So after you giggled and jiggled did you notice anything? I still think a pressure release button for the cylinder is getting pressed when you stand up. It may be slight and take time to lower.
* Not an expert opinion *

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@caffeine_dude: Tried bumping the chair in all manner of ways. Nothing seems to work. I keep thinking it happens when the chair rolls off the chair mat I have, but that isn't consistent, and I can't replicate it.

Assembled it myself. Another thing I like about it more than the Ikea chair, easier assembly. Hard to believe that something was easier to assemble than an Ikea product...

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Can you remove the lever that activates the button on the top of the cylinder temporarily?

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@caffeine_dude: Probably, but it looks like doing so would require some disassembly that would likely void the warranty. The lever came attached as part of the assembly that goes below the seat. Removing it would also mean no way to lock the seat back, it has one lever for recline and for height.

Of course it hasn't dropped at all today...

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@apfrehm: Woops thought I hit submit yesterday....
I would try jamming something that will not break between the lever and the button. To ensure the button is not accidentally getting pressed.

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The manufacturer seems to agree that it is the cylinder. I will have a new one in ~5 business days. I'm hoping that resolves things, other than that issue I am pretty happy with this chair.

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A product called the Chair Saver Kit can inexpensively fix virtually all office chairs with sinking adjustable cylinders. No tools required and installs in under a minute. Ergonomically adjustable from 1/2 inch to 4 1/2 inches and fits 95% of office chair users. Check it out at http://www.chair-saver.com

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"chair saver kit"
Think they run around $20 and they do work.
Have used mine for over four years with the kit.