How to help us help you - or How to ask a good question

Before we begin…

This forum is not a helpdesk

The people here don’t work for Home Assistant, that’s an open source project. We are volunteering our free time to help others. Not all topics may get an answer, never mind one that helps you solve your problem.

This also isn’t a general home automation forum, this is a forum for Home Assistant and things related to it. Any question about Home Assistant, and about using things with Home Assistant, is welcome here. We can’t help you with everything though.

:zero: Language

We can only support one language here, and that language is English. We appreciate that not everybody can read and write it, but there are a wide range of options out there. We chose this language since it’s known to the moderators and developers, and also one of the most widely known languages.

:one: Search

It’s not unlikely that your question has been asked, and answered, already. If you search the forum, you may find it and save yourself a lot of time.

Now, it may not be a perfect answer to your question, but it should get you close enough to start.

When you’re writing a new topic, on the right-hand side (where the Preview panel is), you’ll see topic suggestions. These are chosen based upon your title, tags, and the post content. Do check them before you post.

If you find a post that solves your problem, please like that post. It’ll help others identify that post as helpful, and let that poster know that they’ve helped people.

:two: How do I search?

Try to search only for what is the core of your question - the error message (without your specific data), component or add-on name, the operation you want to perform, etc.

Some examples of searches for common scenarios:

  • hassio “no such image”
  • mqtt light
  • camera stream

:three: I found a similar topic but it’s already solved and I still have a problem. Should I post in it?

As a rule of thumb - no.

What you could do, is to post your question in a new topic and put a link to the topic you found (see also 9 Show your workings below).

:four: Did you read (and search) the documentation?

The documentation is here, and the integration list is here (integrations used to be called components). There are a few highly recommended sections that everybody should read:

The documentation and the integrations also have search functions.

Be warned, Home Assistant changes quickly. If you’re looking at a post in the forum, or somebody’s blog post, or a YouTube video, and that article is months old, it could turn out to contain outdated information. If you run into problems it’s good to check against the current documentation.

Don’t forget, add-ons will have their own documentation too. In many cases it will be embedded in the add-on, or accessible through it, but if not check the add-on page or the relevant GitHub repository (for a non-core add-on).

Good questions

:five: Use a relevant category

The categories are fairly self explanatory, and Uncategorized is where things without a category fall. Please try to help them end up somewhere else :wink:

The category is for things relating to the install method itself, and the add-ons. Questions about how to configure a integration go elsewhere.

:six: Use relevant tags

Tags are added to a topic to help to improve the forum’s search engine, as well as give additional context to people reading your question.

Common tags include zwave, mqtt, templates, switch, etc.

:seven: Title

Having a good topic title is essential. It should summarise your post so that without even opening it people can have a good idea of what it’s about.

A good topic generally:

  • Includes unique part of the error you’re getting
  • Contains the integration name or action description
  • Describes the thing you’re having an issue with
  • Is emotionless

For example:

  • Good How do I use a timer in an automation to delay an action?
  • Bad Timer not working
  • Ugly Problem/Need help
  • Good Z-Wave - Not able to include device ZXX123
  • Bad ZXX123 not discovered
  • Ugly ZWave problem

If you’re having a problem writing a good topic title, leave it for last - once you’ve written the whole question, it might be easier to write a summary title for it.

Asking the question

Before posting anything make sure that you read and follow the community standards

:eight: Describe the goal, not the problem

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of the XY problem. If you describe your goal first, then others can understand what you’re trying to achieve.

:nine: Show your workings

If you turn up with a post that suggests you’ve put in no effort, you’re less likely to get quality help, and your post may even be ignored. Explain a bit of what you’ve done so far, such as:

  • Link to some other threads that you’ve found, and tried, and explain why they didn’t help you
  • Describe what you’ve tried, and what the problems were

Showing that you’ve put effort in will help demonstrate that you’re not simply looking for others to do all the work for you.

:one::zero: Tell us how you installed Home Assistant

Tell us if you’re running using an official HassOS image, a Docker install, Hassbian, a venv install, and so on. Things that are often really useful to know include:

  • What version number of Home Assistant are you running?
  • How you installed it. If you’re not using Hassbian or a HassOS based install, remember to tell us the operating system
  • Any relevant code - correctly formatted

For example:

  • Home Assistant 0.42.0 using with the HassOS image
  • Home Assistant 0.84.2 in a venv following this guide on Windows 10
  • Home Assistant 0.90.2 using on Ubuntu 18.04 following this guide

Please remember that words like latest, current, newest and so on are not version numbers.

:one::one: Format it properly

Spacing is critical in YAML, and if you just throw the code on the page then it’ll look ugly and nobody will know if the problem is because of spacing. We need you to use code blocks and appropriate markup.

For example, this is easy to read and it is obvious if the spacing is correct:

# Turn off lights when everybody leaves the house
  - alias: 'Rule 2 - Away Mode'
      platform: state
      entity_id: group.all_devices
      to: 'not_home'
      service: light.turn_off
      entity_id: group.all_lights

This however, not so much:

Turn off lights when everybody leaves the house

  • alias: ‘Rule 2 - Away Mode’
    platform: state
    entity_id: group.all_devices
    to: ‘not_home’
    service: light.turn_off
    entity_id: group.all_lights

Full details are in that link, but in brief you wrap your block in three backticks (```), like this:

# Turn off lights when everybody leaves the house
  - alias: 'Rule 2 - Away Mode'
      platform: state
      entity_id: group.all_devices
      to: 'not_home'
      service: light.turn_off
      entity_id: group.all_lights

:one::two: Describe what you changed

If it used to work, then tell us what changed since then. If you changed an automation, upgraded something (a custom integration, an add-on, Home Assistant itself, etc), we need to know. Don’t just tell us the last change, tell us all the changes.

Remember too - only change one thing at a time, then test. If you change multiple things and it now works, you don’t know what solved it. Worse, one of those things may have solved it, but one of them may have introduced a new problem.

:one::three: Share the logs

If something isn’t working, check the logs and see if things are being logged. On logs are available in the UI, or you can check them using the command line - hassio ha logs. On Hassbian you can use halog from the Hassbian scripts. Keep in mind that the UI will only show errors, and other entries may be helpful and relevant. Other sources will include:

  • Home Assistant log file homeassistant.log
  • Supervisor log
  • Add-on log
  • Z-Wave activity in OZW_Log.txt

The more you tell us, the more likely it is that the problem can be identified.

:one::four: Screenshots

Sometimes an image is worth a thousand words, and including a screenshot (or a link to one hosted elsewhere) can help. Don’t do that for anything you can copy and past from your configuration, YAML, code, or logs. Please only include screenshots that are actually helpful.

:one::five: Read before posting

Yes, read your own post before you post it. Make sure that you’ve not lost the point part way through, that it still makes sense, and that the topic, tags, and category all still make sense.

The other things to ensure is that you’re using paragraphs, punctuation and white space. A wall of text is hard to read.

:one::six: Should I tag people?

Generally, no.

It comes across as bad manners, you’re demanding somebody answers you. It’s different if you’re thanking somebody, obviously.

If you do tag somebody keep it polite and respectful. Remember that everybody is a volunteer, and nobody has to help you.

Similarly, please don’t PM (private message) people asking for help. It also comes across as demanding, and means that others can’t learn from what you do.

I’ve posted…

:one::seven: Wait…

Yes, the community covers the world, but those who can help you may not be around. It can easily take many hours, maybe even a day or so to get a response.

:one::eight: But it’s been days

If nobody has responded after a couple of days, have a re-read and see if the title, category, tags, or even the post itself need some attention. Re-read this guide and see if you’ve missed something important.

If you think that all is as good as you can make it, then you can consider bumping it by posting a reply to make it more visible. Doing that too much, or too quickly, can make you look entitled, and that will drive people away.

:one::nine: I’ve solved it!

Great. Please respond to your post with details how you solved it, and use the option to mark it as the answer (see 21 below).

Please don’t delete your question, that will make it look like you only care about yourself.

:two::zero: People are replying, but I don’t have the answer

This is common. There’s always going to be things people don’t know (because you didn’t tell them, and maybe didn’t even know to tell them, or because it’s beyond the limits of their knowledge).

If something that people have said has moved you on, then let them know. This will encourage people to keep helping you. If it hasn’t, let people know that you’ve tried their suggestion, and what happened. Again, this encourages people to keep helping you.

:two::one: Somebody’s answer solved it!


Now, before you go… please take the time to mark that as the answer, you do that by selecting the three dots under the post:


Then select the check box:


Don’t forget too while you’re down there to click the heart to like the post, as a way of saying thank you.

:two::two: Be respectful

Please do read the code of conduct.

:four::two: This can’t work, can it?

Try it :wink:

Remember, there’s never a guarantee you’ll get an answer - nobody is required to provide one. What you can do though is provide a post with relevant supporting information, that shows you’re trying. That will encourage people to help you.

Inspired by this awesome post over in the OpenHAB forums.

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Function "Or" and "AND", not working with mobile devices
Dim lights to 50% of their brightness?
Unable to find the configuration error
New to home assitant
Configuration relay board type R421A08 - RS485 MODBUS RTU
Running a shell command from Home Assistant to remote linux PC
Automation for turning off Govee lights when Samsung TV turns off
Need help logic
How to save a Variable, triggered by an event
Command_state: parameter with "quotes"
Simple automation. For garage opening
Error setting up entry Z-Wave
Trying to convert kb/s sent to Mb/s sent
Modbus stopped working with rel 2021.7
Rest API is slow
Mystery with light
How to notify all events in Google Calendar?
Template for lighting control when the first person arrives at home
"Required key not provided" (binary_sensor automation created using Lovelace UI)
Image in Media Browser on Picture Card
🔹 Card-mod - Add css styles to any lovelace card
How to notify all events in Google Calendar?
Initial help to access sensors for newbie
No Card Type Found - Mini Media Player
Supervisor suddenly not loading
Unable to import a tasmotized Sonoff into Home Assistant via ESPHome
Checking window covers postion in group atomation
Cannot trigger via group state
Customising the BOM Weather and lovelace - now in HACS
Ping connectivity check
"Required key not provided" (binary_sensor automation created using Lovelace UI)
Switch lights off when last person leaves
MQTT / sensor help needed
Can we revisit the move to qt-openzwave?
I tried all the camera platforms so you don't have to to control xiaomi fan.zhimi_fan_v2 Fan On and Off
Entities with multiple values
Control the air conditioner
Strange things going on
Device trackers always showing not_home despite being used
Making a Google device work with other units
Home Assistant Community Add-on: Nginx Proxy Manager
Anfänger Fragen
After: ?variable? (yaml)
User based permission [Solved]
Help With Room-Assistant
All lights in area on at dusk
Variables not resolving
MUE4094RT Philips Xiaomi Motion Sensor
Netatmo outdoor camera not working
I Have no idea what's going on
Automations not working - 24 hour
After updating to HA 2020.12.2, many integrations no longer work
Help with WOL and ping
Group Light and Switches
2020.12: Automate with Blueprints!
Above in automation
Problems with turn on/turn off lights
Control my blinds
How do you change Tplink Switch to a Door Class? so i can list it in Entity Card
To stupid to get simple automation
How to set a input_number as a delay time
Problem with “Irrigation Unlimited HACS Integration”. Enabled attribute
2021.7: A new entity, trigger IDs and script debugging
Template in automation trigger's "for" not working
Transition not working in Automations
Help with convert m3 water into liters
Help with controlling Thermostat when Door is open
Customize window sensor
Connecting Xiaomi temperature sensors to MQTT... please help
AM2302 ESPHome Compatibility Problem
SMTP not working and SMTP integration not available
Issue IP Hassos on Proxmox - Guest Agent not running
Little problem integrating my watermeter
Home Assistant não reconhece meus Sensores Tuya Zigbee e Wi-fi
Imap Email Content Automation
[New Addon] Samba NAS. (Mount external disk and share it )
Need Help: Values is string but need float values (platform: rest)
1st automation trigger
Duckdns config fails - not a file for dictionary value
Costco Feit Smart Dimmer Tuya Convert Tasmota
DHT22 sensor not working HASSOS
Retrieve a variable value on a CAN Bus
Change update interval from Number Components
2021.1: Happy New Year!
How to capture and use the sensor.door_name.operator value from August
Set input_number from LED brightness at automation action
Config, base_url and can't restart
2021.3: My Oh My
How to use a neopixel led as notification
Getting an odd message in the logs "Platform mqtt does not generate unique IDs." - where to solve that?
Scrape CSV
TemplateError ZeroDivisionError: float division by zero, what is wrong in my syntax?
Home Assistant Community Add-on: motionEye
Light toggle script
Ubibot Temp/Humidity integration problems
Message malformed: Service esphome.esp-buzzer_unit_keep_buzzer does not match format
Templating value - possible only with creating addiotional sensors?
How to get ~800 Leds to work smooth with Fastled or Neopixel
Broadlink script
Aqara and Hue Motion sensors help
Newbie help for custom_components
Without yaml - are we meant to manually reconfigure every integration each time?
When I put the http: and the two SSL files in configuration.yaml RPi will not serve webpage
ESPHome Integration with this Sensor
Nanoleaf shapes
Set GPIO switch as lock for homekit
Should I be able to see port 80?
CSS how to "fix" picture-elements = no scrolling?
Automation with time
Lost dimming in esphome/HA
TV Turn off by switch
Are Light groups screwy or is it just me?
Help with cm to % on D1 mini and HC-SR04
Motion sensor triggered Spotify playlist
Environment Canada Issues
Automation with a dynamic value
RPi 4 install
Google Calender - Automation - Homeoffice Tracking
How to setup Spotify
Use state of mqtt topic to override physical button press action?!
Sensor values in alerts
Can't upgrade to 2021.11.3
Disregard this post
Malformed required key not provided @ ['zone']
Combine a switch and a sensor
Using CATT
Error when calling media service
Tuya Repeating automation
Input helper number not a float?
Transition and weird things
🔹 Layout-card - Take control of where your cards end up
How to control the LED with MQTT?
Change user ID to Friendly name in Automation
Is there a way to have triggers timeout?
Entrance Gate - Kids safety
ESP8266 gets reconised in HA but not the PIR, need some HELP!
Create a sensor for holidays/workdays
Pulse-counter on MCP23017 io extender
Safe Mode Start - Can anyone help?
Sensor.webhook_temperature: UndefinedError: 'dict object' has no attribute 'temperature'
Virtual Lights On / OFF
Automation option missing
Multiline template in automation condition
Modbus switch config errors
Setup failed for push
WLED automation with segments
Automations stoped working after update
Failed Raspberry Replacement
HOW To Execute Commands
HACS and mini_graph-card
Nested groups
Add simple data template ability to visual editor
Automation with if/else service selection
MQTT Dash Commands (json) to Jinja2
ESP32 Cam - working!
Assistant Relay
Name / description of icon - floor plan
ESPHome - 8266 device does not connect to WiFi
RestAPI Template parsing
Timer duration from lovelace UI
Creating new script to open and close IKEA blinds
Warning Smartir
Scene setting wrong input_select in automation for some reason
Enable sensor if consumption is low
2021.6: A little bit of everything
2021.6: A little bit of everything
Shed door template sensor help
Group's State not accurate
Configure sensor to show increments / delta changes of other cumulative sensor
Help configuring YAML for relay assistant (for automations)
Where is the condition error script?
Automation based on log
ESP32 badly shows ADC
Switching off lights at or before sundown
Use helper minus 2? Can home assistant do math?
ESPHome killing Wifi of ESP?
Sensor value send mqtt
Hello_service integration sample
How to change color light?
2021.7: A new entity, trigger IDs and script debugging
Need help to translate in yaml
2021.7: A new entity, trigger IDs and script debugging
Help with thermostat
Modbus PLC YAML help
Help me love HA - first (failing) automation, Daikin AC with BRP069B45
Help me love HA - first (failing) automation, Daikin AC with BRP069B45
ZHA-Aqara Single Wall Button (WXKG03LM) onle have power
How to invoke automation at value update
Honeywell CH/DHW via RF - evohome, sundial, hometronics, chronotherm
Systemmonitor Drive argument config
Help needed for MQTT Binary Sensor
Wait for service call in automation
Link local file on Lovelace editor
Missing energy management
Missing energy management
Combination of service_template and data_template fails
HASwitchPlate in ESPHome
Sensor Template | use backup sensor if main not available
Link multiple ESP8266/Wemos D1 and/or Wifi-less Connection?
Send out status emails to dynamic recipients, depending on who request the status
Basic templating: Calculating percentages
Mi first automation
What regular expression to use?
Help with group yaml
Vicare not working
Hue Motion Sensor Automation does not work with ZHA
Error while announcing change in weather.home status
Elapsed Time Since Timestamp
Integratienota not showing
File output with curly braces
Round template (sensor) to n decimal places, including ending 0's
Random ssml Google Cloud Say
IKEA motion sensor
LED Motion sensor automation
"Energy" - Where are the water device_classes
2021.9.0: More energy, USB discovery, template ❤️
Time Calculation in Home Assistant (sensor & Helper)
Templating help - Show remaining time in HH:MM of timer
Template rendered invalid service - Unexpected error for call_service
Integrations didn't work after upgrade
Having trouble with a timer
Lovelace dashhoard card help
How to group sonoff switches by room
Reset state timer
2021.10.0: Z-Wave S2 support, Tuya, secure ESPHome and 400 new icons
Lovelace Table
Automation trigger on time 15 minutes
Abfallkalender in Home Assistent
Turn Fan off when light off, but wait until humidity is lower than threshold
Mosquitto addOn - create a second user?
Echo Show 15 alternative for HA
Trying to use light level attribute as automation condition
Changing 'template entity' state based on 'entity value + attribute'
How to make HA actively check availability?
Modbus failure
New supervisor "unsupported" error
Filter "Already running" in logs
Trouble Connecting ESP32-WROOM-32
Float(0) and Automations in 2021.12
Dim All lights that are currently on
Samba share AND Windows 11 NOT WORKING!
Google Translate - announce the door that was opened
Button to start operate smartplug for a defined time period
Running automation every 2 hours for 30 minutes
Button to start operate smartplug for a defined time period
Sliders instead of the big Bulb?
Beginers question!
HA, ESPHome, Switch state reports opposite of actual condition
Working Ethernet Thermometer using the Olimex ESP_POE_ISO board
AND funtion on multiple triggers, or a work-around for it?
Multiple IOS notifications through app
Energy calculation serval devices (lights) gets a reset or strange value after reboot
Switching on/off radiator with TRÅDFRI control, according to temperature of Aqara sensor
Teething problem …
How can I see all my covers/blinds are closed
How to change the syle of a switch? [SOLVED]
Sensor Scrape / Rest - scrape text only page
Trigger IR operation with Xiaomi smart switch (and hub)
Help with my first automation
🌻 Lovelace UI • Minimalist
Help Sending ID with Water Leak Detected
Can't integrate Hassio with SmartThings
Konnected Piezo / Siren
Hassio with external NVR
Help to understand my mistake
Combining Lights and switches
On/off switch in Lovelace
MQTT connection issue with devices
MQTT triggered automation keeps trigering forever
Can I update Home Assistant via Docker?
Beginner needs support
IFTTT - Automation with unsupported action
Aeotec Z-Stick Gen5
Automation problema
NUT add-on configuraton problem
Life360 update 0.95.4
Brand new user , trying to add something in HASS.IO
Call input_boolean
Automation not loading, but it activates the trigger
Debugging Unresponsive Home Assistant
Homekit stopped working after 0.96 upgrade
History overcrowded
Reset Aeotec Z-stick, and now Home Assistant won't start
Problem on Pyton 3.7 upgrade
PACKAGES folder system
How to re-enable an entity?