Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms save lives, but only if they are properly installed and functioning. Most fatalities happen in homes without working smoke alarms.


Recommendations are that you install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and inside every bedroom.


Battery-operated alarms should be tested once a month to ensure they are working.


Replace the batteries in your smoke alarm once a year. Each fall when clocks are changed to mark the end of Daylight Saving Time, install a new battery. If an alarm “chirps” to indicate a low battery – change it.

A ten-year lithium battery smoke alarm does not need to have its battery changed. Replace smoke alarms that use extended-life, lithium batteries when the alarm “chirps” or fails to respond to periodic testing. The batteries in these units cannot be replaced.

False Alarms

Use the hush button to silence a false alarm from cooking smoke or steam. Never disconnect or remove the battery. If your smoke alarm does not have a hush button use a magazine or kitchen towel to fan the smoke away from the alarm.


Replace your smoke alarms every ten years. If you do not know how old your smoke alarm is, or if it is ten years or older, replace it as soon as possible.

Free Smoke/CO Alarms for Seattle Homeowners

Free combination smoke/CO alarms are provided and installed in the homes of qualifying Seattle homeowners.

To qualify you must:

  • live in the city of Seattle
  • own and live in your home
  • and identify as a senior or live on a low income or have a disability.

Strobe alarmSeattle residents who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing may qualify for a free strobe smoke alarm.

Apply for smoke/CO alarms: Online form or call (206) 386-1337.

Smoke/CO alarms in rental properties

Whether you live in a rented house or apartment, your landlord is required to provide you with a working smoke and CO alarm. Tenants are responsible for maintaining the alarms.

If your rental property does not have a smoke alarm, inform your landlord of this obligation. If you are having difficulty communicating with your landlord about this matter the following organizations may be of assistance:

  • The City of Seattle Housing and Zoning Enforcement Office (206) 684-7899
  • Dispute Resolution Center (206) 443-9603
  • The Tenant's Union (206) 723-0500 or (1-800) 752-9993
  • The State Attorney General's Consumer Line (1-800) 752-9993