In the office, it’s likely that your chair is where a decent amount of your time is spent. Your business is conducted at your desk, and your business is important to who you are. The easiest way to derail your busy schedule is finding one day at work that your chair is causing you pain or harm. Your chair is in many ways the ticket to your focus and success in the workplace.
Why is your office chair important?
In an 8 hour work day, you can easily spend three-quarters of your day sitting in your office chair. It’s likely it could be more on days where you have no appointments outside of the office. Sitting for that long of a time isn’t great for you, and it’s even worse if you have a chair that doesn’t work well for you.
If you’re using a properly balanced chair, your posture is meant to facilitate good posture for your neck and back, plus you know that your posture also affects things like bone structure and muscle density. You can likely benefit from a great chair, but in contrast, you can also experience great negative consequences for a bad chair. A lot of times, your posture is negatively influenced by your chair’s balance or stability. If your chair casters are wobbly, your body won’t be stable enough to maintain a proper posture, and you’ll end up feeling very sore and damaged over time.
Your office can also experience damage to its interior with a bad chair. If your chair casters are damaged, they may be putting increased pressure on your flooring. In short, this can damage the carpet, hardwood, and everything in between. You can also damage the chair itself. Poor casting can alter the chair’s design and morph its construction, causing an increase in the chance of the chair falling apart or breaking. The chair is much more expensive to replace than the casters so it's better to be proactive and fix things in small ways instead of waiting for a costly replacement later that causes much more effort and stress.
How to Know when to Replace your Chair Casters
Casters are the wheeled portion of the bottom of the chair that is mounted in order to allow the chair to roll and move easily around the office. The components that make up the caster are an amount, a stem or brace, and wheels. Some casters use different parts that are added to that makeup, but those three parts are included in all casters. Different chairs use different casters, but it’s likely that the caster will depend more on what you need than the chair itself.
Depending on how the chair is used, the weight capacity, and the material on which the chair will be moving, different casters will be required. Smaller wheels are better for smaller chairs but don’t hold as much of a weight capacity and have a hard time rolling. Large wheels can also be problematic; they can end up digging into the floor much more than smaller models. If you notice that you have damage on your floor, your chair seems like it may not be able to hold your weight, or that your chair is barely moving on the floor of your office, it’s time to change your casters. Again, this is much cheaper than buying a brand new chair and does not require much work on your end.
How to Replace Office Chair Casters - Here are 6 steps
The first step is obviously going to be an assessment of your chair casters. There are a few things you’re looking for in this step. Starting with the floor, check and see what your floor looks like where your chair is usually located. Next, we need an actual status update on the chair itself. In order to check the status of your chair, take your chair and place it on a sturdy surface like a table or desk. You should be able to leave the chair sitting without holding it or worrying that it’ll tip over. Take a few steps back and make sure the chair stays standing. Next, get an update on the wheels. Check first to see if any of the floors has left residue on the wheels, like thread, fibers, or chips of wood or laminate. If the wheels are catching anything, it’s important to take action immediately so you don’t cause further damage to your floor.
If you plan on purchasing new wheels, you don’t have to worry about cleaning the old ones at all. Find wheels that work best for your floor type online and make sure to order them in a size that will facilitate your chair. There’s nothing worse than receiving a package you have to pack back up and return. If you’ve purchased new wheels, skip step three.
If you’re using the wheels you already have, you’ll need to remove the residue on them before using them again. If you have carpet, remove all thread that has been pulled. If you’re on wooden floors or laminate, make sure there’s no residual material in between the wheels or on the bearings. Wipe each wheel down, and then drop 1 or 2 drops of lubricating oil or WD40 and make sure to spin the wheels and make sure nothing else is blocking the wheel. If the wheels look clean and move freely, you’re ready to move on!
Next, it’s time to evaluate the caster itself. If the caster looks bent and warped, you’ll want to buy a brand new one to be safe. If it looks a little loose but otherwise untouched, it’s likely the fix will be quicker. Sometimes all you need to do is use a screwdriver to tighten up the caster back to its full placement. Other times, as is the case with warped casters or bending, you’ll need to purchase an entire new caster. First, we’ve got to remove the damaged caster. This is a step with which you should be cautious and careful. If you pull the caster out with no care, it’s likely the stem or entire chair could become damaged, and its crucial that you don’t allow the caster to pull apart the lower half of the chair entirely. With casters, it’s easy to replace them. With the entire lower halves of the office chair, it makes more sense to just buy a new chair, which in that case, defeats the purpose behind keeping this cheap and easy.
Try first to remove the caster by pulling it off the chair. Often it's helpful to use a grip-enhanced glove or even a towel. If the caster doesn’t pull out on its own, grab whatever tool you have that might help pry it out. Often, this is a Phillips or flathead screwdriver, since the heads of those tools are small enough to fit inside the caster’s hold. Don’t rush it; use the screwdriver or tool to slowly slide into the different parts around the caster and find an angle that helps to remove the caster. You should be left with the stem on the chair, or the little metal or plastic neck that sticks out to hold the caster.
Next is the fun part. Pick out your new caster if you’re replacing the old, damaged one. This can be done a few different ways. Many prefer to order parts online and use the help of online reviews. This is a great option if you don’t have a local store nearby to pick up the caster, or if you’d like the help of others who have been in your position before. There’s also the benefit of quick shipping times, and every once and a while, it’s easy to find a coupon that you may not have found in the local paper.
The other option should be to head somewhere local and consult the knowledge of a professional face-to-face. The benefits of this are that you can explain your situation to someone who knows what they’re doing in real time and get help and feedback. Nationwide chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s are great options, but you may have even better luck at a local, small business that caters to communities. This is a great option for those looking to build connections with people who can maybe help them in the future for various projects.
Whichever way you go, find the caster you need for your chair and pick one that you enjoy. Keep in mind you may need to buy something else as well. If your wheels were shot, you’ll need to buy new wheels for your chair too. Figure out what wheels you need for your office’s floor surface and pick those up as well. Make sure the wheels are compatible not only with the caster but also with the chair.
The next part should be easy, even though it involves the most manual labor. Installing the new caster should be as easy as following directions. The caster will go back onto the stem, and often requires a few screws and some basic tools. The caster should come with directions, but if not, make sure to check with a professional or look it up online. Once the caster is back on, you can go ahead and replace the wheels as well. Most casters allow wheels to screw in and not need other tools, but again, follow the directions of the wheels or seek help. Like mentioned, this isn’t a difficult step, but it is something you should be careful about doing. Misusing the new parts could result in them becoming damaged and unusable. If you break them, you may not be able to return them either.
The moment you’ve been waiting for. Go ahead and take the chair off the desk or table you’ve had it placed. With care, put a little pressure on the chair and see if the caster is holding and the wheels are stable. Then sit in the chair and see how it feels. Are things balanced and set in place? If so, you’re good and have done exactly what you needed. If not, put the chair back up on the table or desk and have another look much like the beginning of this list. If it becomes evident that the caster isn’t working, you may need a new one, or at the worst, you may need to buy a new chair. If you have questions, it’s best to reach out to a professional and find out what’s going wrong instead of blindly spending money hoping for a solution.
Six easy steps get you a chair that will elevate your work. If you’re having difficulties or questions, a number of sites exist in which you can go and find forums and question and answer threads that deal with this topic. It’s likely that a number of people have had similar experiences as yours with your caster replacement, and you might not even have to start a new thread. The answer may already exist on the website.
Office supplies and furniture are in high demand because of how often they are used in the workplace. It’s likely that your office manager or boss is worrying about other things and may not have time to deal with your chair casters being off balance or damaged. This article "How To Replace Office Chair Casters" will help you to alleviate stress with chair caster issues and allows you to fix your problem yourself. Modern office furniture is meant to be long-lasting and durable, but some older pieces can wear and tear much easier and it’s helpful to stay on top of their maintenance before things get worse.
For the future, caster replacements and maintenance should be something you’re more than capable of handling. Worse case, refer back to this article to help guide you to the experience you desire with your office ergonomic chair. Remember, be careful during these repairs, and you’ll be back at the desk taking care of business in no time.
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