During the dog days of summer, you appreciate your air conditioner. Unfortunately, hot summer days bring higher energy bills, especially if you want to keep your home cool. You know your energy bill is going to go up during the summer. However, if your air conditioner isn't working properly, your energy bill might go higher than you were expecting. This is particularly true if your air conditioner won't stop running. If you've been listening to your air conditioner run for hours, without shutting off, it's time to pinpoint the problem. Here are four quick steps that will help you identify the reason why your air conditioner is refusing to shut off.

Check the Thermostat

This might seem like an overly-simplified solution, but when an air conditioner won't shut off, the problem can be traced right back to the thermostat. If your air conditioner has been running non-stop, take a look at the controls on your thermostat. First, make sure that the control marked "fan" is set to "auto" and not "on." If the fan is set to the "on" position, your air conditioner will continue to run non-stop. Next, take a look at the temperature reading. If the temperature inside your home is below the pre-determined setting, it's time to have your thermostat replaced.

Replace the Filter

Once you've checked the thermostat, it's time to move on to your filter. You might not realize this, but a dirty filter can make your air conditioning unit work overtime. Open the filter housing and check the filter. If your filter is dirty, replace it as soon as possible. It's also a good idea to clean the housing compartment itself. Use a vacuum with a hose extension to remove any dirt and debris you find inside the housing.

Clean the Coils

If it's been a while since you've cleaned the coils on your air conditioning unit – or you've never done that – you'll want to take care of that now. If the coils on your unit are clogged with dirt, the air can't pass through properly, which will make your air conditioner work overtime to cool down your home. Use your garden hose to clean the coils and the fan blade inside the air conditioning unit.

Call the Professionals

If your air conditioner is still running, and you've tried all the tips listed above, it's time to call in the professionals. Companies likePallett Heating and Cooling will be able to isolate the problem and get your air conditioner working properly again. To avoid malfunctions, you should have your air conditioner serviced at least once a year.