How to Adjust Footrest Tension on Recliner Chairs

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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A recliner chair is one of the most comfortable pieces of furniture you can ever invest in. This chair allows you to rest and change positions to your liking. Nevertheless, the recliner chair can get uncomfortable. You may find that your chair reclines too much for comfort, the footrest fails to adjust, sags, or the lever refuses to move. When this happens, it means that you need to adjust the tension on your chair.

Adjusting a recliner’s tension can vary based on the design and mechanism of the chair. However, there are general ways to fix an uncomfortable recliner chair like a pro. In this article, we will guide you on how to adjust tension on recliner and fix your chair.

How to Adjust Tension on Your Recliner

Comfortable adjusted recliner chair

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An uncomfortable and damaged recliner chair can be redeemed by fixing it. You can use any of these three methods to adjust the tension.

1. Adjusting Recliner Tension

Before making any adjustments, you first need to test your chair’s reclining tension. You can test it by sitting gently on the chair and leaning back. If the backseat is leaning back more than usual or the footrest is refusing to close, you need to adjust the tension on the seat. After testing the tension, you can now follow these steps to make the necessary adjustments:

i) Tilt The Recliner Chair Forward

Place the chair upright, and the leg rest closed. Then carefully tilt the seat forward so that you see the bottom part of the recliner.

ii) Find The Adjusting Mechanism

The adjusting mechanism is located at the bottom of the chair. Most recliners have wing nuts and thumb wheels attached to the frame with bolts. In case you do not find an adjustment mechanism, read the manual that came with the seat. It will help you locate it.

iii) Fix The Adjustment Mechanism

To fix the adjustment mechanism, turn the wing nuts and thumb wheels in the same direction. If you need to increase tension, rotate the specific wing nuts or thumb wheels clockwise. Otherwise, turn the wing nuts or thumb wheels anticlockwise if you need to lower the recliner’s tension.

iv) Test Your Adjustments  

You now need to test and see whether your recliner’s comfort level has been adjusted to your liking. Therefore, place the chair upright and sit on it to see how well the backseat reclines.

Please note: This procedure also applies to how to adjust the footrest tension on a recliner.

2. Replacing Tension Springs

Example of recliner chair tension springs

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A recliner chair has different parts. Before making the adjustments, confirm that you have the correct parts needed to adjust the tension. You have to purchase new replacement springs if your recliner has none. It is advisable to buy wing nuts and thumb wheels from the recliner’s manufacturer. This ensures you get the correct parts for your seat.

Additionally, ensure you wear safety goggles when replacing the springs. They keep your eyes protected in case a spring pops when fixing the chair.

Follow these steps while replacing tension springs:

i) Tilt Your Recliner

Tilt your recliner forward to see the adjusting mechanism at the bottom of the seat.

ii) Find And Remove The Broken Springs

Find the springs hanging loosely on the recliner’s frame and others held by tabs or clips. Use pliers to remove these damaged springs safely by grabbing one end of the spring and twisting it until it falls.

iii) Fit The New Springs

In this step, you will require a few coins or a small flat metal and screwdrivers. Use the screwdrivers to create space between the loops on both ends. Slip the coins between the spaces that you created. This will ensure the loops remain separated.

Now you need to attach one end of the new spring to the recliner’s metal frame. Attach the other end to the tabs or clips by pulling them using pliers. Once you have fixed the new spring, remove the coins you had placed between the loops. The spring will automatically go back to its normal tension.

iv) Test The Adjustment

Put your recliner back into an upright position and sit on it. If you like how it feels, then the adjustment was successful. If not, repeat these steps until you achieve the comfort level you are looking for.

3. Changing Recliner Pitch

Man relaxing on a recliner seat

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The recliner pitch can be corrected by changing the bolts at the bottom of the seat. Recliner pitch is the height of the seat front when the recliner is in an upright position. If the pitch is too high, your feet will not touch the floor when seated, and the footrest will be too high up. To rectify this, adjust the pitch downwards.

If the pitch is too low, your feet will not rest comfortably on the footrest. This can be corrected by adjusting the pitch upwards.

Frequently Asked Questions on Recliner Tension

Recliner chair for small spaces

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1. How Much Does It Cost if I Hire a Professional to Adjust My Recliner?

The cost of a repair depends on the problem of the recliner chair. The professional will start by assessing the problem so that they can price it. Simple fixtures such as adjusting footrest tension or recliner’s pitch may be cheaper than repairing and replacing the chair’s broken parts.

2. Why Does My Recliner Leave a Hole When I Sit There?

Your recliner seat feels like it has a hole because the spring is broken. You can check if this is the case by assessing the state of the springs attached to the bottom frame. If the springs hang through the cover, they are broken. You can get an expert to fix them or replace them.

3. How Do I Fix a Recliner That Leans Back Too Far?

You fix this issue by tightening the back bolts. Using a wrench, tighten the screws that are on the base of the chair. You can also add shims behind each leg of the recliner chair.

4. How Do I Adjust My Lazyboy Recliner?

You can adjust your LazyBoy Recliner by first assessing the extent of the damage. This can be fixed by either adjusting the lever, replacing the tension spring, or tightening the wing nut and thumb wheel. Make any of these adjustments and continue to test until you get the correct setting for your comfort.

5. Where Can I Buy Spare Parts for My Recliner?

Always purchase replacement parts for your recliner chair from its manufacturer. This ensures you get the correct parts. You can also find parts online but be specific about the recliner model so that you buy parts that fit correctly.

Final Thoughts

Recliner chairs are bought for their comfort. They are useful for people with back pain, medical conditions, or a regular human who wants a one-of-a-kind sitting experience in their home. Thus, a few adjustments must be made when a recliner leans too far back, or its pitch is off. Fixing a recliner chair is simple when you follow the correct steps. You first need to make a diagnosis on the chair so that you find out where the problem lies. This way, you can get ready for the repair.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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