Imagine sitting in your office chair working productively and then BOOM! I’m sure this sounds like something out of a movie. So, can office chairs explode? Yes. Before you get scared thinking that you’re better off working on the floor, there are a few things you should know.
Can Office Chairs Explode? Here are Real Facts
While the risk of your office chair exploding is very low, it can still happen. This post will clear the confusion surrounding this issue and what you can do to ensure maximum safety. Here are the 3 real examples that was the fact of office chair explode.
Office chair explosion death mythbusters
- In 2013, a 24 years old young woman from China bought a chair with a pressurized pneumatic cylinder that exploded and left her critically injured. The surgeons had a tough time removing the bits of metal from her stomach.(Ref:asiaone.com)
- In 2009, a 14-year old boy from china used a chair with a damaged gas cylinder caused his death. (Ref:Gizmodo)
- Another high-profile case was of a 65-year old man. A 150mm rod shot out of the exploding gas chair and injured his arms and back. Although the man survived, he faced a horrible ordeal that no one should go through.
After reading the above horror stories, you may think that you should go for manually adjustable chairs. But not too fast! You can still enjoy the convenience of office chairs that offer accurate height adjustments. A good chair follows strict regulations in manufacturing. While there’re chances an office may explode, the odds are very low. These three stories were from china and sound gruesome.
This explains why some office chairs cost more than others, even when all the specifications look the same.
Why do office chairs explode
An office chair comes with a cylinder that is pressurized with gas. The pressure is normally around 1500 -2500 per square inch. This is more than the pressure generated by an air rifle – you get the picture? You have nothing to worry about unless a welded component breaks inside the cylinder. The bits of metal thrown out during the explosion can tear through the seat and land on the person using the seat. Office chairs with cheaply made pneumatic cylinders are at risk of explosion.
Since the main culprit of the explosion is the gas cylinder, some companies try to lower their manufacturing costs by filling the cylinders with pressurized air. This is why you should avoid any company that takes shortcuts in manufacturing.
But there’s another school of thought. The cylinder that goes up and down is designed to take more than 1500 to 2500 PSI pressure. When the pressure is high, the piston comes out of the chamber. If it manages to go through this part, it can cause damage to whoever is sitting on the chair. Keep in mind that a pneumatic rod can withstand about 120,000 continuous shocks when it leaves the factory. So, when you buy the chair from the manufacturer, be sure to check the certificate number to ensure safety.
A walkthrough to the inner workings of Pneumatic cylinders
The pneumatic system has a series of springs that are coiled using nitrogen gas. Although the mechanisms require lubrication to ensure everything flows smoothly, the pressure creates enough power to lift the chair.
When you press the adjustable lever, you activate the coil springs. Then, the lever gives a light touch on the pressurized space so the seat can adjust the chair to the preferred height. Generally, there are three types of office chairs. If you’re on a tight budget, you should choose mechanical or hydraulic pressured chairs. But if you’re looking for something high-end, you should invest in a gas-pressured chair.
Some modern office chairs come with a gas-pressured suspension system. This is what allows the user to adjust the chair to the desired height. The gas cylinder is located below the seat and is what moves the chair up and down. In the rare case that the chair is not moving up and down, there’s a possibility that the suspension system is not working.
The next time you buy a pneumatic office chair, you should observe how it lifts you up and down. If you’re struggling to lift the chair to the desired height, then it’s not in optimal working condition.
Should you be worried?
While accidents can happen, the chances of exploration happening are close to nil. Many things that can convince you that buying any kind of office chair is completely safe. To reinforce this idea, most manufacturers follow strict standards when making gas cylinders. Of course, the cylinders are tested under extreme conditions. So, unless you want to put your office chair to the test, you’ll do just fine.
What you should do to avoid exploding your office chair
Although most manufacturers follow strict safety standards, your office chair can still explode under abusive conditions. Some of the precautions you should use to ensure safety include:
Buy office chairs from reputable manufacturers
As mentioned earlier, most companies try to minimize their production costs and maximize profit. With this in mind, you should avoid any manufacturer that takes shortcuts. Some companies have been around for some time, and they have a great track record regarding quality and safety. So, you should only focus on trusted brands – you don’t want to ship a crappy chair. You may check the list of high quality office chair under 300 dollar.
Choosing the right office chair goes beyond the stylish design. Some companies will try to add the aesthetic element and forget about safety. A good manufacturer should be willing to give warranties and guarantees. If they can’t, you should not put confidence in their office chairs. Always ensure the pneumatic rod has the national certification mark.
Listen to the sound
When you hit the pressure rod with metal, you should hear a crisp sound. If the sound is stuffy, you should be vigilant. The quality is likely to be an electroplate from other materials. For maximum safety, a reputable manufacturer will install a protective steel plate.
How tp use the office chair accordingly?
An office chair should only be used for sitting. If you plan to do dangerous stunts on it, you could be destroying it. To make sure you do everything right, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions religiously. Think about it – you bought the office chair to improve productivity and support. Avoid throwing it away like a rag doll.
While office chairs can withstand any amount of stress you can subject to it, there’s a limit. Most manufacturers recommend that you avoid adjusting and rotating the chair frequently. From a scientific standpoint, this can cause uneven pressure, and with time the rod can wear causing explosions.
Also, you should avoid sitting at the edge of the chair frequently. You can easily damage the chair with a twisting force. Another cautionary measure is to avoid disassembling the chair at will. Others will try to fill the lift with gas. No matter how competent you think you are, you should never attempt to dismantle the gas on your own. While many tutorials show the process, if you’re not confident enough you should seek professional help.
How to replace a faulty gas cylinder?
While replacing the gas is a way of boosting the longevity of your chair, it also plays a key role in your safety. If you feel the chair is tilting in a non-ordinary manner when you adjust it, that’s a red flag there could be a problem with the gas cylinder. You should expect this to happen to your chair many years down the road. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to replace a gas cylinder.
Before you replace the gas cylinder, you should have the right tools. You need a pipe wrench and needle-nose pliers.
First, you should disassemble the lift mechanism, and then measure the size of the gas cylinder. This is something you can do without a helper. Flip the chair upside down and remove the spring retaining the clip. Then, lift the pedestal column of the chair, bearing, washers, and the rubber bumps.
Remove the cylinder using the pipe wrench. After that, measure the length of the gas cylinder from top to bottom. Make sure you don’t include the piston length on the measurement. With the right replacement part on your hands, you should start the reassembling process.
Push the tapered end of the cylinder to the chair seat and then lubricate with a rubber bearing. Make sure you secure the piston rod with the original washers. Once you’re done, you should turn the chair right side up and bounce on it. Your body weight will push the tapered gas cylinder into the seat retainer. Finally, adjust the chair to your desired height by raising the lifting mechanism.
Be sure to regularly inspect your chair to ensure the gas cylinder is in tip-top shape. Also, be on the lookout for any cracked or loose part. When you spot any problem on time, the chair can be repaired or replaced ASAP.
Here you can watch video
Wrapping it up
At first, when people started to discuss exploding chairs, the hot debate skyrocketed in Google trends. Many couldn’t understand how an office chair could be dangerous. While office chairs are very safe to use, there’s still a chance that your lovely seat could explode if it’s manufactured by a company that wants to make quick bucks. These events are rare but you should not take chances. But as long as you buy a chair from a reputable manufacturer, you’ll be safe, and your day will be productive.
You might read also: