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There are a number of signs you can look for. Obviously, you know you have a wet basement problem if you can see water pooled on the floor or trickling down walls. If there is no obvious flowing water, examine the walls and floor for cracks or staining. If you find mould or mildew on walls, at joints or on your stored items then you can be sure there is a waterproofing problem. A musty smell is also an indicator. If your basement is unfinished you may see efflorescence, a white powdery dusty build-up. This occurs when water evaporates and leaves behind mineral salts and can also indicate the extent of water build-up by its height on the wall. If your basement is finished, examine the finishes and stored items. Metallic items will show signs of rust. Is there peeling paint or bubbled paneling or wallpaper? Warping? All are indications that water is or has leaked in.