Sprinkler leaks, winterizing

In the last 6 months I had 4 water leaks on the sprinkler + one leak at the meter and countless small leaks at the commodes fittings.
Some may be explained by poor craftsmanship. Some PVC joints were easy to crack loose and show poor gluing but the house is 7 year old and all problems appear in a short time.
To understand what is going on I need some education...
1) Could be high pressure or surges? What is a normal range for municipal water pressure? I plan to install a pressure gauge with a needle showing max pressure, as soon as I can find one.
2) Just about when this started, some road work was ending and a tank truck is filling up often at an hydrant in front of the house, to water the median grass. There is a lever operated valve that can be closed quickly. Can this create a hammering surge sufficient to make problems?
3) We live in Austin TX, winter are mild but it freezes and the sprinkler pipes are no deeper that 6 inches in some spots, rocky soil. What is the proper way to winterize the sprinkling system? I have a compressor.
4) The sprinkler main feed has a complicated looking valve. It has a main cylindrical body as big as a wine bottle, there are two squat cylindrical bodies jutting out at 45 degree, almost like a double TT (inverted) but slanted; there are fittings and adjusting screws on top of the two bodies and on the main body. What is this valve? Vacuum break? Pressure reducer?
5) Would it be advisable to install a pressure reducing valve just after the meter?
6) Any idea of the price of such valve on a 5/8" meter. Just the valve cost.
Many questions but I appreciate your responses.
MG
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MG wrote:

Hi, I live in Calgary. House came with pressure guage/regulator when it was built. Typical pressure is 60 pound. I blow out sprinklers using compressor(Campbell Hauser Extreme duty) myself zone by zone. It's puzzling your plumbing sprang leaks like that. Last 30 years I have 4 houses, a cabin built and never experienced plumbing leak of any sort. Older houses had copper pipe plumbing, now this new ones are all done with Pemex and compression crimp rings. Tony
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Thanks. How do you connect the compressor to each zone? There is no fitting or a T to access. You say you clear each zone, I take that you go in after each valve. How do you clear the pipe section upstream of the valves?
MG
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MG wrote:

Hi, My system is Rainbird. I just attach compressor hose to water line thru a "T" after water is shut off to sprinkler. Then I select a zone at a time from controller and blow it out. compressor not being powerful, it is slow process but gets job done. I am wondering your yard is settling or shifting or something. Tony
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That is the idea, I need to add a "T" after the shutoff. No yard is not settling, pretty solid rock few inch under. But pipes are shallow, perhaps lawn mower load.
Thanks MG
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