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What does a roll out switch do in a hvac unit?

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Roll out switches are used to control the high limit on your heater. If the heat exchanger gets too hot the roll out switch breaks the circuit going to the burner. They have a button on them so they can be manually reset. They will not reset automatically. If yours operates unexpectedly, you need to check the furnace for the problem.

Life is a one lap race. Make many pitstops.

a roll out switch is a heat limit switch, when you get a back draft or it your chimmeny is dirty, what happens is the flame comes out of the front of you boiler or furnace which causes the roll out switch to open and break the circuit, some have to be manually reset, because it's telling you there is a dangerous problem happening to your boiler or furance and you should have it check by a techincan. hope that helped

Thanks, that helps.  My unit is old and the roll-out has a adjustable temp on it set to the lowest temperature available.  Another question I have is if my heat exchanger tubes have a burned out portion on them, and flames are coming out of them, would the roll-out switch also break the circuit or would that be something else?

You better change your furnace, There's no price on your life, that if you have a cracked heat exchanger and the flame comes near the roll out switch yes. It's time for a new furnace or boiler

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ALL of them except steam radiators.

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