Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in places without working smoke alarms. [US Fire Administration] For anywhere from $6-40, you can sleep knowing that you're keeping you and your family safe. And one smoke detector may not cut it. In fact, the US Fire Administration suggests installing one on every level of your home as well as the basement. But installing them doesn't mean you're 100 percent safe. Maintaining them is just as important -- the number one reason existing fire alarms fail is because of missing or disconnected batteries. So test your batteries each month, and if you have a 9-volt battery, replace it once a year. If you have lithium battery, read the manufacturer's instructions on replacing the entire smoke detector, since you cannot change a lithium battery. If the alarm is hardwired into your home's electrical system, it should be switched out every eight to 10 years.
Polan recommends this simple trick: "Check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors when you change your clocks, twice a year. It will keep you from forgetting," she says.