Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Install

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

Test

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

Change

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.

Replacement

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.

CO alarms have a life expectancy of around 7 years. All CO alarms produced after August 1, 2009 have an end-of-life warning notification that alerts the resident that the alarm should be replaced. The CO alarm will beep every 30 seconds or display ERR or END.

If a CO alarm is at its end-of-life, replacing the battery will not stop the beep. Some CO alarms have a feature that will silence the signal for 30 days but this will not solve the issue as the CO alarm will continue to beep after the 30 day period ends.

CO Alarm Replacement and when to Call 9-1-1 (English)

Download a print-friendly file of the Carbon Monixide Alarm Infographic in:

Free Smoke/CO Alarms for Seattle Homeowners

Free combination smoke/CO alarms are provided and installed in the homes of qualifying Seattle homeowners. The smoke/co alarms are battery-powered and are installed by Seattle Firefighters.

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.

We are unable to install smoke/co alarm including strobe alarms for deaf residents until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Strobe alarm

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