Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are essential fire safety tools to have in your home and are the best way to prevent fire fatalities. Every home is required to have working smoke alarms and most are also required to have carbon monoxide alarms. Read below for an overview of the requirements and download this brochure for a comprehensive list of requirements. Find out more about scheduling a smoke/carbon monoxide alarm inspection.
Protect your home and family with smoke alarms
- Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside bedrooms, at the top of open stairs and at the base of cellar stairs.
- Maintain smoke alarms. Test them once a month.
- If the alarm uses regular batteries, change them at least once a year. An easy way to remember is to change the batteries when you change your clocks. A “chirping” sound indicates that it’s time to change
- Smoke alarms must be replaced every 10 years. Alarms are labeled with their date of manufacture. If there is no label, they are older than 10 years and must be replaced.
Protect your home and family with carbon monoxide alarms
- The law requires carbon monoxide alarms to be installed on every level of your home, including habitable portions of basements and attics, in most residences.
- On levels with sleeping areas, carbon monoxide alarms should be installed within 10 feet of bedroom doors.
- When purchasing a carbon monoxide alarm, be sure to look for the approval label of an independent testing company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL), International Approval Service (IAS), or Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Most carbon monoxide alarms that are sold in the Commonwealth meet these standards, but it’s a good idea to check before buying.
- Carbon monoxide alarms may be
- Battery operated with battery monitoring
- Plug-ins with battery back-up
- Low voltage systems
- Qualified combination
- Replace carbon monoxide alarms every 5 to 7 years, depending on the make and model.
- Newer CO alarms have a 10-year sealed battery that does not need changing. At 10 years, the entire device is replaced.
- If you have a plug-in model, be aware that the battery will run down during an extended power outage and may need to be replaced.
For Landlords and Tenants
- Nicole’s Law also requires landlords to install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms in every dwelling unit that has a source of carbon monoxide.
- Large apartment buildings, where there is no source inside of the individual apartments, may use an alternative method to detect carbon monoxide near the furnace, boiler rooms, or garage.
Information on this page is from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.
Download a PDF