Welcome to the forum. Some advice!

Tips for new HASS/forum users. Help me out - what did I miss?

Posting your configuration
When you post your configuration, we need to see that you’ve got the spacing/indentation right. Use the “preformatted text”

YAML tips
YAML can be a harsh mistress. Spaces matter, tabs can break things. Here’s a post with some tips for editing YAML with Notepad++

What Home Assistant install method should I use?
If you’re pretty technical, use whatever works for you. Docker, NAS, All-in-one, Hassbian - it’s all good.

However, if you’re new to Linux, Python, etc - even if you’re pretty technical - you’ll probably want to go with All-in-one or HASSbian on a Raspberry Pi 3. Going that route, you’ll be using a method that’s popular on the forum and has good support for the various libraries that Home Assistant depends on. As of this post, my recommendation is to go with All-in-one if you expect to use Zwave or Mosquitto as those are both installed and configured automatically for you with A-I-O.

RTFM, or at least search the forum before you post
The component guide provides an ever-evolving guide to configuring platforms and setting up your automations, etc. Also, there’s a pretty good chance that if you’re having a problem that it’s been discussed on the forum.

Give it a try first
Don’t expect forum members to write code for you. Post what you’ve got and let us take a look. It’s also helpful if you post the related errors from home_assistant.log if that’s applicable. You’re a lot more likely to get help if you get the ball rolling.

The dev tools are your friend
At the bottom of the sidebar of HASS’ web UI, you’ll see some buttons. These are useful to help you work out issues and write configurations.

  • services: If you can do it in an automation, you can test it in the service dev tool. You’ll need to learn a bit of JSON to use it, but it’s no big deal. For ex: {"entity_id":"light.front_porch","brightness":"255"}
    Inside the {}, you have pairs. Each pair uses a colon to separate key and value. Pairs are separated by a comma.
    Here’s a post where I describe how to use the services tool to figure out the format any HASS service’s API URL.

  • states: This tool does a couple helpful things. It’ll show you what entity_id’s exist on your HASS installation and what the current state is of each. It will also let you adjust values. This is a great way to make sure you’ve got the correct entity_id before using it in an automation/script/etc.

  • events: surely someone uses this. I don’t. But I’m probably missing out.

  • templates: Trying to create a template sensor? Write a response for an Alexa skill? The template tool is great. Debug in real time to make sure you’re getting what you think you’re getting before you plug it into code.

  • info: You can see your error log here, as well as some other useful info (like your HASS version)

Youtube videos
There some great sources of HASS knowledge on Youtube.

Start Simple
Keep things simple as you get started. Figure out the basics (automations, scripts, scenes) before you tackle things like Alexa or IFTTT integration. When you’re diagnosing a particular automation, try simplifying it to a single trigger and condition and work up from there.

Earn your keep
HASS is maintained by volunteers. As is help on the forums. Once you’ve figured something out, stick around and help others. Post your working configurations. Contribute to documentation! Most pages on the Home Assistant site have a link that says “edit this page in GitHub”. You don’t need to download anything or be a Git expert. Create an account and edit the documentation from inside your browser.