Draining the Priemer Plus Gas Hot Water Heater
Begin by turning off the gas at the tank and at the valve near the tank.
CAUTION: Do not proceed any further if you do not know how to relight the gas pilot!
2) Turn off the COLD water supply to the tank.
3) Attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Run the hose to a convenient drain location. Be careful if you use a real cheapy garden hose... some of these become very soft when hot water runs through them, and may leak! If you don't have a drain in the basement floor or suitable sump hole, you have my sympathies... this drain-down can take a while with a bucket! Oh... and be careful if you use a soft plastic bucket. It can also soften from the heated water so don't overfill it or burn yourself!
4) Open up the hot water side of any faucet. Open up the drain valve on the tank and allow it to empty. Miller time. That is, unless you don't have a sump...
NOTE: If the drain valve clogs, turn on the cold water supply to the tank to use water pressure to "blast" through the clog.
5) When the tank is empty, shut off the drain valve and turn on the cold water. This will loosen up more sediment in the tank through the churning action of the cold water in the tank. Let the tank fill partially and drain it again. In fact, if you find that the sediment starts to clog the drain valve, turn on the cold water supply to the tank, which will help loosen the sediment and blast it out.
If you have extreme amounts of sediment, you may have to repeat this procedure a few more times. Look at the drain water... if it is running clear, you are done. Shut off the drain valve, open the cold water supply and allow the tank to fill. Once water comes out of the hot water faucet, the tank is full and your task is done! Now, you can turn the electricity or gas back on to heat the water.
How frequently to clean the sediment from your tank...
This depends on the source and purity of your water supply. Some pros recommend doing it annually, some every few years. I would recommend doing a partial drain down annually if you find any sediment in the tank, otherwise every couple of years.
Remember that with an electric water heater, you must turn the power off! Even a partial drain down may expose the upper heating element to the air and permanently damage it!