Re: Old house electrical problems
You should be able to just remove and replace. For the light that won't come on, it could be the fixture or it could be the switch. Switches are (usually) easy to replace. These are the sorts of things that most homeowners can handle. Get a book on home electrical repairs; you can find them at most home improvement centers.
Now if the wiring is bad or inadequate, then more involved upgrades are necessary. You probably should get an electrician involved, since your question hints that you don't have much experience with electrical wiring.
By the way, a kitchen should have at least two 20A small appliance circuits (read: countertop outlets). They should be GFI protected. The refrigerator can be on one of these circuits, but it should NOT be on the GFI protected portion of the circuit. My house was built only eight years ago, has two 20A circuits, and my wife is constantly switching the microwave between one circuit and the other so she can plug in other appliances where it's most convenient to use. I'm wishing there were three circuits (it's only a 1500 square foot house) but hopefully we'll be moving soon to an old farmhouse where I can rewire it to my heart's content.
The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.