Getting Started with ESPHome and Home Assistant

In this guide we’ll go through how to install ESPHome on a device using the ESPHome Dashboard, installed as a Home Assistant add-on.

But first, here’s a very quick introduction to how ESPHome works: ESPHome is a tool which aims to make managing your ESP boards as simple as possible. It reads in a YAML configuration file and creates custom firmware which it installs on your ESP device. Devices or sensors added in ESPHome’s configuration will automatically show up in Home Assistant’s UI.

Installing ESPHome Dashboard

The ESPHome Dashboard can be installed as a Home Assistant add-on, which you can find in the add-on store in the Supervisor panel. Open it using the following button then click on INSTALL:

If you do not have the official ESPHome add-on repository added you can add with this button:

Open your Home Assistant instance and show the dashboard of the ESPHome add-on.

After that, wait a bit until it is installed (this can take a while). Click “Start” and then click “Open Web UI”. If you see “502: Bad Gateway” it is currently starting, and you can refresh the page after a couple of seconds.


You should now be greeted by a nice introduction wizard which will step you through creating your first configuration.


The wizard will guide you through creating your first configuration and, depending on your browser, install it on your ESP device. You will need to name your configuration and enter your wireless network settings so that the ESP device can come online and can communicate with Home Assistant.


The most difficult part of setting up a new ESPHome device is the initial installation. Installation requires that your ESP device is connected with a cable to a computer. Later updates can be installed wirelessly.

For guidance on making this first connection, see Physically Connecting to your Device

Dashboard Interface

Assuming you created your first configuration file with the wizard, let’s take a quick tour of the ESPHome Dashboard interface.


On the front page you will see all configurations for nodes you created. For each file, there are a few basic actions you can perform:

  • UPDATE: This button will show up if the device has not been installed with the same ESPHome version currently running.

  • EDIT: This will open the configuration editor.

  • LOGS: With this command you can view all the logs the node is outputting. If a USB device is connected, you can choose to use the serial connection. Otherwise it will use the built-in OTA logs.

  • Overflow menu: This is a dropdown menu which allows you to perform more actions.

    • Validate: This will validate the configuration file.

    • Install: Opens the Install dialog.

    • Clean Build Files: This will delete all of the generated build files and is a safe operation to perform. Sometimes old files are not removed and can cause compile issues later on.

    • Delete: This will delete the configuration file.

The configuration files for ESPHome can be found and edited under <HOME_ASSISTANT_CONFIG>/esphome/. For example the configuration for the garage-door node in the picture above can be found in /config/esphome/garage-door.yaml.


Since Home Assistant add-ons run as individual containers, accessing these through command line is not very straightforward, but it’s possible. To do that, install Home Assistant’s SSH addon, configure a username and a password, and disable Protection Mode (please assess the risks you take with that). Then, for example to access the logs from a device through an SSH client, log in, and you can use a command like docker exec -it addon_15ef4d2f_esphome esphome logs /config/esphome/garage-door.yaml. See Getting Started with the ESPHome Command Line for more.

Now go ahead and use one of the devices guides to extend your configuration.

Adding some (basic) features

So now you should have a file called /config/esphome/livingroom.yaml (or similar). Go open that file (in any text editor) and add a simple GPIO switch to the configuration like this:

  - platform: gpio
    name: "Living Room Dehumidifier"
    pin: GPIO5

In above example, we’re simply adding a switch that’s called “Living Room Dehumidifier” (could control anything really, for example lights) and is connected to the pin GPIO5.

Connecting your device to Home Assistant

Once your configuration is installed on your ESP device and is online, it will be automatically discovered by Home Assistant and offered to set up on your integrations screen:

Open your Home Assistant instance and start setting up a new integration.

Alternatively, you can manually add the device on the Home Assistant Integrations page. Click on the “Add Integration” button (bottom right), search for esphome, and enter the host name, eg: “<NODE_NAME>.local” as the host. Use the same process to add multiple esphome devices.


After the first installation, you will probably never need to use the USB cable again, as all features of ESPHome are enabled remotely as well.

Adding A Binary Sensor

Next, we’re going to add a very simple binary sensor that periodically checks a GPIO pin to see whether it’s pulled high or low - the GPIO Binary Sensor.

  - platform: gpio
    name: "Living Room Window"
      number: 16
      inverted: true
        input: true
        pullup: true

This time when installing, you don’t need to have the device plugged in through USB again. The upload will happen wirelessly (“over the air”).


Where To Go Next

Great 🎉! You’ve now successfully setup your first ESPHome project and installed your first ESPHome custom firmware to your node. You’ve also learned how to enable some basic components via the configuration file.

So now is a great time to go take a look at the Components Index. Hopefully you’ll find all sensors/outputs/… you’ll need in there. If you’re having any problems or want new features, please either create a new issue on the GitHub issue tracker or find us on the Discord chat (also make sure to read the FAQ).

See Also